‘This is not an additional tax’ St. Charles residents to vote on approving online sales tax next month

Voters in the city of St. Charles will soon be making a decision that likely will affect their wallets.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:26 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Voters in the city of St. Charles will soon be making a decision that likely will affect their wallets.

As online shopping continues to become more popular, residents will decide if they should pay a local sales tax when they buy online.

Currently, a 2% sales tax is only charged when they buy in a physical building in St. Charles.

‘Comic Book Relief’ recently expanded into a different, bigger building in St. Charles.

Owner Mike Hetzler said people enjoy the experience of sifting through comics.

“You get the smell of comics. You get the atmosphere of comics,” said Hetzler.

But he is forced to charge a city sales tax, but if you buy the same comics online, no local sales tax is charged.

He wants to see that law change.

“It levels it so that everybody is still getting charged tax. If you come into the store you get charged tax, so it’s geared towards Amazon,” said Hetzler.

Voters in St. Charles will decide in April on whether to charge the city’s 2% sales tax on online and out-of-state purchases.

“This is not an additional tax,” said City Administrator Lawrence Dobrosky.

Dobrosky said nobody will ever be double taxed. You either would pay a sales tax in a physical location, or a use tax if you’re buying online.

That online sales tax could get the growing city another $2-4 million a year.

“Inflation is going up, costs are going up, but our revenues aren’t keeping pace,” said Dobrosky.

Dobrosky said due to the increase of online shopping the city’s local sales tax has slowly eroded. He said they need that money, using it to hire more police officers and firefighters and keep the first responders they already have.

“If you generate a million dollars, that puts 10 more police officers on the ground,” said Dobrosky.

If passed, the city gets extra money for public safety and it evens out the taxes on small business owners like Hetzler.

“It kind of keeps the people in St. Charles buying from St. Charles businesses, instead of going through Amazon and Amazon gets a percentage of it,” said Hetzler.

The St. Charles City Council voted last year to send the tax to the April 4 ballot.

Councilmembers in St. Charles passed a resolution Tuesday that proclaimed their support for the tax.

Dobrosky said they wanted to communicate with the public and correct any misconceptions people may have about the tax.