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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • Local sales tax revenues up

  • The strength of a community, especially a rural community, can often be measured by revenue. So when 2013 sales tax revenues in Livingston County were nearly identical to the previous year, the County Commission considered that a step in the right direction.
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  • The strength of a community, especially a rural community, can often be measured by revenue. So when 2013 sales tax revenues in Livingston County were nearly identical to the previous year, the County Commission considered that a step in the right direction.
    “We’re certainly grateful the numbers are holding up as well as they are,” said Presiding Commissioner Eva Danner Horton. “I think we in the Midwest are doing better than other parts of the nation.”
    Last year, the county’s sales tax revenues totaled $968,234, more than $28,000 higher than the budget of just under $940,000, and just $833 less than actual totals from 2012. Sales tax revenues make up nearly half of the yearly revenue totals — $1,950,373 in 2012 and $2,101731 in 2013. Danner Horton said location and community involvement were major factors in revenues remaining strong.
    “I think a lot of it has to do with our location, being at the cross section of two major highways” Danner Horton said. “Our pull factor is good to bring people in and spend money. The community has also done a great job to attract people with the Grand River Historical Society Museum, Chilli Bay Water Park and the Grand River Area Family YMCA. The list goes on and on.”
    Danner Horton said new businesses such as IBC North America and Clean Tide, as well the new Hedrick Medical Center, should have positive effects on the county’s revenue totals for 2014.
    “Anytime there’s more payroll, there’s more spending,” the commissioners explained. “I think, in the long term, the hospital will bring more people to our community as they’ll be better able to expand their specialty clinics. Anything that attracts people to our community helps us with our sales tax.”
    With increased sales via the Internet, Danner Horton said commissioners across the state are promoting approval of a proposed Internet sales tax. According to a study published by Trefis in December, online shopping via mobile phones is on the rise. Forty percent of all online traffic was credited to mobile shopping in 2013, as well as an 80 percent increase in purchases made using mobile devices compared to the previous year.
    On Dec. 3, The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Amazon and Overstock. According to an article published by the Kansas City Business Journal on Dec. 9 the appeal “asserted that a New York law was unconstitutional because it made online retailers collect sales taxes in states where they don’t have facilities.”
    The High Court’s dismissal of the case has paved the way for Missouri to pass similar laws that are believed to generate millions of dollars in additional revenue and give Missouri residents an incentive to shop locally.
    Page 2 of 2 - Danner Horton said support for the tax has been building, but progress is slow.
    “We all know more people are buying online and what that’s doing to our brick and mortar businesses,” Danner Horton said. “Slowly, there’s progress being made. I think people are starting to understand that it’s going to have a major impact on what cities can provide and what the picture of cities will be if we don’t have brick and mortar businesses in our city. You can’t really have the community involvement and community feel without them. Something needs to be done to make it fair for the brick and mortar businesses to keep them in operation.”
    All week, the Livingston County Commission has met with elected officials to help construct the 2014 budget. The budget is to be substantially complete by Jan. 21, the date of the County Clerk public hearing. The budget must then sit, with no expenditures, for 10 days before the County Commission public hearing.
    Danner Horton said she and fellow commissioners Ken Lauhoff, East District, and Todd Rodenberg, West District, are grateful for the cooperation they’ve received from the county’s residents and elected officials.
    “Our budget is tight, and we are based so much on the sales tax and what happens with the economy,” Danner Horton said. “We really appreciate the support and feedback we get from our elected officials.”
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