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House rubber stamps vehicle sales bill, sends to Senate

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House is sending to the Senate a bill solidifying in statue that folks can offset the sales tax of a new vehicle with the trade-in value of multiple vehicles. 

The chamber perfected HB 1, sponsored by Rep. Becky Ruth, with a voice vote Wednesday morning and third read the measure hours later. The measure passed in a 126-21 vote. 

The issue arose in June following a Missouri Supreme Court ruling which interpreted current law to be a “one-for-one” sort of deal when trading in a vehicle for another and using that credit to offset some of the cost. 

Lawmakers were called by Gov. Mike Parson back to Jefferson City this week for an extraordinary session — running concurrent with veto session — to address the policy change brought about by the high court’s ruling.

“It affects a multitude of people. It’s a good, pro-consumer bill,” said Ruth, adding the proposal is for everyday Misosurians. She noted the bill simply makes the language in statute clear and concise to give folks and the Department of Revenue (DOR) certainty.

“We are going to change it back to the old way,” Rep. Phil Christofanelli said. 

The measure passed two House committees on Tuesday, with no witnesses speaking against the bill — though Democrats and GOP Rep. Shane Roden voted no.   

When the legislation hit the floor, House Democrats and Roden spoke in opposition and unsuccessfully sought to alter the bill. 

The minority party has voiced their opposition to the issue being the subject of special session and continued to do so during debate. Rep. Sarah Unsicker called the legislation “corporate welfare.”

During perfection, Rep. Peter Merideth pointed out the Administrative Hearing Commission has ruled 17 times since 2008, saying the law only allowed one vehicle trade in to offset the sales tax on a new vehicle.

“Business as usual was illegal,” he said, adding the Supreme Court’s decision was actually in favor of the state.

“I have never heard of a client who wins their case and then goes to the legislature to change the law,” Rep. Gina Mitten said during third read.