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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Your view: Scheme opposed

Monday, July 14, 2003

After having read the story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch regarding the "corn for cars" tax loophole, I must express my disgust for a certain Republican and Democrat as I find both of them equally despicable. They are the worst kind of politician. Never do they do anything for the good of the people. Everything they support advances their own cause or directly benefits themselves instead of the people they are representing.

Josh Bill was mayor of Sikeston in 2000 and 2001 and also served on the city council for a number of years. Mr. Bill is among those who have been profiting from a sales tax law loophole that permits farmers to barter their produce for vehicles, thereby avoiding paying sales tax on the vehicle. I have spoken to farmers, and haven't yet talked to one who takes advantage of this law. From what they have told me, they would rather pay the sales tax than risk doing something questionable that might result in penalties and interest being added to the original sales tax.

Mr. Josh Bill came up with a scheme whereby anyone could "purchase" grain from him, trade it to a dealership for a car, and the dealership would "sell" the grain back to Mr. Bill, less his percentage for helping the purchaser avoid the sales tax. He then could repeat the process using the same grain as many times a day as he could promote his plan. The exact same bushels of the exact same grain were used over and over each day. This is just paper transactions; no actual grain is traded. Mr. Bill says the law does not specify that only producers of the commodity can barter their grain. He contends that this is a loophole and it is "legal" for him to take advantage of it (even though the object of the scheme is to allow Mr. Bill to line his personal pockets and deprive the state and local government of the legitimate sales tax on car sales that every other Missouri citizen has to pay.)

This scheme is not being promoted by John Doe. This scheme was devised and promoted by Josh Bill, a former mayor of Sikeston who swore to protect our community and promote our general welfare, so that he could line his personal pockets by depriving the state of much needed sales tax revenue, at a time when tax revenues are down, the state and local governments are facing budget shortfalls that result in loss of jobs and services to the citizens of our communities. Mr. Bill also ran for the state legislature as a Republican - and, thankfully, he was defeated.

Rep. Shannon Cooper has sponsored new language aimed at correcting what he called "the vagueness of the law" to make it clear that only producers of the grain or livestock would be able to barter their goods for vehicles. Now comes the governor, Mr. Bob Holden, who has proposed all kinds of new taxes that would affect all of us, but he has refused to commit to signing this much needed legislation proposed by Mr. Cooper.

Why, I wonder? Could it be because a Republican sponsored the legislation? Political advantage is first and foremost on Governor Holden's personal agenda. He has wasted the people's money on his grand inaugural party, the special session which accomplished exactly nothing, and traveling around the state, promoting new taxes and trashing Republicans.

Now, when an amendment to fix a bad tax law is proposed that would legitimately increase tax revenue, Mr. Holden is very quiet because of what else but party politics. According to the article in the Post, $9.5 million in sales tax revenue was lost last year, due to the barter advantage used by some people utilizing Josh Bill's little scheme. Could our schools and other state institutions have used this money? Would it have saved some of the programs that are to be cut?

I am disgusted and dismayed with both Governor Holden and Mr. Josh Bill. Never will I vote for either of them again!

Name withheld by request