Monday, April 13, 2009

City Council sends message to 'shop local'

Shopping local is a mantra that frequently echoes throughout most cities and towns across the U.S. as communities continue to realize the significance of making purchases locally. There are few better short-range remedies to bolster an economy than a well promoted campaign to “buy-local.”

The message to shop local was sent again to the Rolla community by members of the Rolla City Council when they approved the Back to School Sales Tax Holiday for the first weekend in August. As stated in the recently passed ordinance to ‘opt in’ to the state back to school sales tax holiday, the sales tax holiday (tax savings of 2.5%) is intended to provide tax relief to families with children attending school by exempting the sales tax on clothing, personal computers, certain computer software, and school supplies. The sale officially begins at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August (Aug. 7), and ends at midnight on the Sunday following (Aug. 9).

The Back to School Sales Tax Holiday was first established in 2004 by the Missouri State Legislature when the legislature passed Senate Bill 11. At that time Rolla and more than 135 other cities opted-out of the exemption over a concern for a loss in sales tax revenue. While it is possible that the Sales Tax Holiday could cost the City of Rolla anywhere between $10,000 and $18,000 in lost sales tax revenue, the tax savings of 2.5% on clothing, school supplies and personal computers should be a welcomed relief for families with school-aged children. As the message continues to spread that Rolla is participating in the Back to School Sales Tax, the City, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses and restaurants will hopefully see an increase in local purchases all across the board.

In February, the Rolla City Council approved a City Ordinance to “opt in” the Green Sales Tax Holiday enacted by the Missouri State Legislature. By enacting this ordinance, the City elects to allow the Show Me Green Sales Tax Holiday to apply to its local sales taxes so that there shall be exempted from all retail sales of any energy star certified appliance, up to $1,500 per appliance, during a seven-day period beginning at 12:01 a.m. on April 19 and ending at midnight on April 25.

Some of the energy star certified appliances that will be exempt from both state and City sales tax during the week of April 19 through April 25 include: clothes washers and dryers, water heaters, trash compactors, dishwashers, conventional ovens, ranges, stoves, air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators and freezers.

In closing I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter as we enjoy one of the prettiest seasons in the Ozarks!

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