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Small businesses pay the price

The St. Joe News-Press published an editorial in support of Missouri joining the Wayfair court decision for Internet sellers to collect sales tax on out-of-state sales.

Ironically the graphic used was of an Amazon box, but Amazon.com already collects sales tax for Missouri residents. So does Walmart.com and Ebay.com and all of the top 10 mail order companies.

The first line of the News-Press editorial: “It seems so simple.” But actually it’s not simple at all. One of the few success stories in rural Missouri are companies doing mail order, such as my company in Maysville and Missouri Star Quilts in Hamilton. We are small businesses providing good jobs in small towns. Our types of businesses will be hurt the most by Missouri joining the Wayfair sales tax.

The 2018 South Dakota v. Wayfair decision changed that retail sales tax be collected based on the customer address rather than the seller’s address. Yes, it could be simple, but it is not.

Let’s look at Cameron, Missouri; zip code of 64429. What is the sales tax rate based on the customer address? Are you in Daviess, DeKalb or Caldwell County? Are you inside the city limits or outside the city limits? Should we charge the law enforcement tax or not? Does the Cameron Fire District sales tax apply to your address? Just in Cameron zip code, based on the buyer’s address there could be 20 different sales tax rates. Now let’s look at the item purchased. Hardware has one sales tax rate, but food has a different rate than hardware. Different for raw food vs. processed food. A tractor and tractor parts are farm exempt, except when they are not used for agriculture.

Unintended consequences will be putting small mom-and-pop mail-order companies out of business in favor of Amazon and Walmart. Missouri has about 3,000 different sales tax zones. It is nearly impossible for a small business to accurately figure and collect tax across the country based on the buyer’s address.

Just to clarify, Missouri Gov. Parson and the News-Press are taking a stand against small businesses.

Paul Hamby, Maysville, Missouri

Writer explores story of birth

How is your day going? Have you felt the sun’s warmth of a new day, or watched the falling star-shaped snowflakes touch ground, or listened to the splashing rain drops on the window?

Today my world exists in my mother’s womb. I feel the warmth of her love and listen to each heartbeat. Soon it will be time for my birth. I, too, will then be able to share in all of God’s wondrous creation.

But the choice of my birth is not mine to make. My mom, dad or others decide when I live or die. I want to be born just like you. Whether I live or die is God’s will.

Michael Paul Harris, St. Joseph