ON YOUR SIDE: Why city governments dread Cyber Monday shopping

Photo: Ed Clemente / MGN
Photo: Ed Clemente / MGN(KMVT)
Published: Dec. 2, 2019 at 10:47 AM CST
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As you shop for those online deals this Cyber Monday, local governments and local businesses ask that you think twice about where you buy.

When you shop online through an out-of-state retailer, you do not have to pay any sales tax. That's great for the consumer. But it's tough on small businesses, who can't compete in that aspect. It also affects entire communities. In Springfield, the city cannot collect any tax from your online purchases. Some cities in Missouri have been able to pass a use tax, to bring some income from online sales. City of Ozark, Mo. voters failed to pass the tax last year.

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure says they are hoping the Missouri Legislature will enact legislation requiring out of state online retailers to collect local sales tax. He says a decision by the Supreme Court allows states to do that. If that legislation would be passed at the state level, he says Springfield already has things in place to be ready to collect that sales tax. Until then, he asks that shoppers think twice about buying online.

"My first thought is that it impacts our local businesses," said Mayor McClure. "We have so many great institutions, great stores in our community, and when we talk about ordering things online, that has a direct impact locally. We're talking about businesses, brick and mortar facilities, families, employees, that type of thing, so I encourage people to shop locally."

Cowan's Ace Hardware owner Matt Cowan says he is proud to be able to support the city of Springfield with the sales tax the store collects, because it leads to improvements in the community.

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