Missouri bill with tax breaks for certain trucks moves to governor

| Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A bill on Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt’s desk includes a provision that would offer tax breaks for certain trucks. It also would modify rules for household movers.

A separate bill died that sought to offer tax breaks for highway contractors.

House and Senate lawmakers sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would clarify the common carrier sales tax exemption for the purchase trailers and motor vehicles, provided the motor vehicles have gross weights of 24,000 pounds or more.

Missouri law now applies the exemption only if the common carrier operates solely in interstate commerce. The bill – SB30 – would make the exemption applicable to both intrastate and interstate commerce.

The bill also would allow common carriers of household goods to file applications to the State Highways and Transportation Commission for approval of rates to reflect increases and decreases in the carrier’s costs.

In addition, it would repeal “the exemption allowing intrastate household goods movers to operate wholly in municipalities, between contiguous municipalities, or commercial zones” without having to obtain operating authority from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Currently, household movers are exempt from the rules and regulations if their operations are restricted to those described areas.

Another Missouri bill died that was intended to reduce the cost of roadwork throughout the state. The bill – SB199 – had not yet received consideration on the House floor when the session ended, effectively killing it for the year. The Senate previously approved a separate version.

Contractors would have been exempted from paying sales tax on materials bought for highway projects.

Supporters said if Missouri contractors are freed from paying the tax they would be on a level playing field with out-of-state contractors, or those who go elsewhere for their supplies, The Associated Press reported. They also point out the Missouri Department of Transportation would save money because the sales tax paid to the state is factored in when contractors bid on projects.

The change in state law could be worth $37 million for the transportation department during the next three years, according to the latest fiscal analysis on the bill. That money could not be used for non-road needs, including mass transit, railroads or port improvements.

Eliminating the tax was expected to cost the state about $18 million in general revenue in the first year.

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