Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting taxes from being collected on services say its passage could trigger sales and property tax increases throughout Missouri.
The ballot initiative, known as Amendment 4, is being cast as a taxpayer protection move, but groups including the Missouri Municipal League and the Missouri Budget Project say it will have unintended circumstances that could affect the pocketbooks of voters.
“The overriding concern is that amending our constitution is a pretty serious thing,” said Richard Sheets, deputy director of the Missouri Municipal League, which represents 600 cities and towns across the state. “Once you amend the constitution, it is very, very difficult to change it back. Cities really rely on our sales taxes.”
The proposed amendment, one of six on the Nov. 8 ballot, was launched by the Missouri Association of Realtors as a way to stop lawmakers or the executive branch from tacking on taxes to services, such as haircuts, real estate transactions or dry cleaning.
If potential funding sources are eroded, Sheets said, municipalities may be forced to turn to increases in property taxes to make up the difference.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch