Use tax proposal is a ‘fair tax’

    The (St. James) City Council voted to submit to the voters Proposition A on November 5. The legal language states the revenue will be used for the operation and improvement of the No-Kill animal shelter that we have in St. James. This is the only no-kill shelter in the area.  

    When I ran to become your mayor, one of my objectives is to improve the current shelter. In order to do so, we need a dependable revenue source. It is estimated the use tax, or Proposition A, will generate $35,000 annually. That will allow for the installation of better ventilation, organization of supplies and equipment, and other ongoing physical improvements to the building.
    The revenue will also be used to supply and upgrade the technology needed for the police department. This will allow us to install computers in the cruisers, upgrade radios for the officers and keep the body cameras up to date. Currently, the officers must radio dispatch in order to obtain license or verify identification. They do not have a way to access this information from the police cars. This is very inefficient and doesn’t allow us to know the location of the officers until they radio to dispatch. We would be able to purchase the in-car computers so they can quickly access the information they need.
    Proposition A is also a fair tax. It puts the local businesses to compete for your business on an equitable basis with the on-line retailers. The Chamber members are your friends and neighbors. That have invested in the city of St. James by their presence here in the city. They are the ones that support the band, sports teams, 4-H, FFA, Future Business Leaders and other clubs and civic organizations.
    The online retailers that will collect the use tax must have a physical presence in Missouri. These companies have computer programs that can determine if the shipping address is in the city limits. It is not based upon zip code alone.
    If you pay the local sales tax, you will never pay the use tax. You only pay one, but never both. Without the use tax to level the playing field, the online retailers have an advantage of two percent, compared to the local retailer. The St. James city use tax is the same as the city sales tax and cannot be raised without the citizen approval of an increase in the current sales tax. Should the citizens decide to reduce the current sales tax, the use tax will be reduced by the same amount.
    Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact me or the City Administrator Jim Fleming at 265-7013.
Rick Krawiecki
Mayor of St. James