JEFFERSON CITY -- If lawmakers override a veto of legislation that would have allowed communities to resume levying local taxes on vehicle purchases, thousands of Missourians could be hit with an unexpected tax bill, Gov. Jay Nixon argued Monday.
The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that local sales taxes cannot be levied on vehicles purchased in another state. That ruling went into effect March 21. Legislation reversing the court's decision was quickly passed but ultimately vetoed by Nixon, who said it amounted to a new tax without a public vote.
Lawmakers will gather next month to consider whether to override the governor's veto. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House by a wide margin.
In a letter to members of the General Assembly, Nixon said an override would impact 122,702 vehicles purchased since March 21 whose owners would suddenly owe back taxes.
"It is unfair and punitive to retroactively tax at least 122,702 Missourians, particularly without a vote of the people," Nixon wrote in his letter.
Proponents of the legislation say the court ruling causes Missouri to be at an economic disadvantage, since residents would have a tax incentive to buy vehicles in neighboring states like Kansas.
Nixon argued that the rush to pass a bill in the final week of the legislative session means the retroactive tax was likely not "as thoroughly discussed and debated" as other aspects of the bill.
Read Nixon's letter to legislators below.