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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Sales tax holiday will return locally

Sunday, June 18, 2006

SIKESTON -- Back-to-school shoppers will get their sales tax holiday in Sikeston and surrounding areas this year.

Council members decided during a special meeting Thursday to not pass an ordinance opting out of the three-day tax break for school supplies.

"We will observe the sales tax holiday as we've done since its inception," said City Manager Doug Friend. "I think it's a good opportunity for consumers to get out and save some money on back-to-school supplies -- that was the intent."

Passed by the state legislature in 2004, the three-day period in August helps families in their shopping for certain types of back-to-school items by waiving sales tax.

Tuesday is the deadline for governments to pass an ordinance opting out of the program so they can continue to charge sales tax on those items during that time, according to state statutes.

Miner also has always participated in the tax break program, according to Betty Barnes, Miner's mayor.

"It just gives them a little break," Barnes said. "I think its a good thing that we can do that."

Friend said the financial impact of participating in the sales tax holiday over the years is unknown.

"We don't have a clue. The reporting we get from the Department of Revenue is a total number -- it's not broken down by what goods have been purchased that are exempt," Friend said.

Governments that are citing lost sales tax revenue figures "are just guessing -- there's no way of knowing," he said.

The goal is to provide an incentive to bring shoppers into the community, "and while they're here, they may make additional purchases that aren't exempt," Friend said. "In particular, it was designed to enhance the metro areas that are adjacent to other states."

How effective it is in bringing business to Sikeston is also unknown.

"I don't know the impact, but the Council thinks it's a good thing," Friend said. "Whatever gets people to town to spend a little money, we're tickled to death."

"We'll participate again this year like we have in the past," said Scott County Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel. "We haven't opted out of any yet."

"The county's getting by, so this way we help local businesses and maybe give the taxpayers a little break on their school supplies," Priggel said.

Mississippi County has opted out in the past but will participate for the first time this year.

Junior DeLay, Mississippi County clerk, said he asked his county's commissioners about it earlier in the year.

"They said we were going to go ahead and do it - no sense in opting out," DeLay said. "They said we'll just stay in this year. It won't affect a lot of people around here. Ever since they've had it we've always opted out. There's only a few retail establishments in the county that would be affected by it - it won't affect that much revenue."

The city of Cape Girardeau had initially taken steps toward opting out but in a split vote ultimately decided to participate, according to Doug Leslie, city manager for Cape Girardeau.