‘It would help us quite a bit:’ Online sales tax measure possibly going back to St. Louis County voters

‘It would help us quite a bit:’ Online sales tax measure going back to St. Louis County voters
‘It would help us quite a bit:’ Online sales tax measure going back to St. Louis County voters
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 7:02 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:24 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV) - St. Louis County is looking at every possible solution to get out of its $40 million budget deficit.

That includes a potential marijuana sales tax and a sales tax for online purchases of county residents.

Sarah Garlich at ‘Cha’ boutique says St. Louis County residents are pretty good at shopping locally already but wants online shoppers to pay the same sales tax that her customers are already doing.

“I do think it will 100 percent be better for us to have an even playing field in a way,” said Garlich.

The St. Louis County Council is considering putting an online sales tax up to the voters, if passed, it would match the county sales tax, which is just under 3 and a half percent.

County projections show that could add $10 million to county coffers, something County Executive Sam Page says can help with both plugging budget holes and small businesses.

“It’s not fair to our small businesses in St. Louis County for them to have to compete with retailers online,” said Page.

The owner of Racketman in Des Peres, Jim Diekroeger, has been clamoring for an online sales tax for years.

“I think it would help us quite a bit. I think people are more prone to go online and save on sales tax,” said Diekroeger.

Diekroeger has owned Racketman for decades but only recently has he seen a wave of new customers. hoping to grab new pickleball gear, a sport sweeping the nation.

“Since the pandemic, it has just absolutely taken off,” said Diekroeger.

But he says he knows the store is losing out on even more customers who might simply buy stuff on Amazon, saving at least 3 percent.

“There’s a lot more consumers, me being one of them, that don’t want to pay the sales tax on purchases, but it certainly hurts the smaller businesses,” said Diekroeger.

He’s hoping the voters eventually approve the measure and even more pickleball converts line up in his store.

correction: A previous version of this story stated that the St. Louis County Council had passed the sales tax ordinance. A County spokesperson told News 4 the council is still considering the ordinance.