Morning headlines: Friday, August 3, 2012
Sales tax holiday this weekend in Missouri - except for a few municipalities
It will be a big weekend for back-to-school shopping in Missouri as the state's annual sales tax holiday runs Friday through Sunday. School supplies, clothing items under $100, and personal computers under $3,500 are among the goods that will be exempt from the state's 4.2 percent tax.
Cities and counties can choose to opt out and charge local taxes, but as Missouri Department of Revenue spokesman Ted Farnen says many are taking part.
"Both the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County are both participating, so you'll get the savings also on city and county tax, so depending on what city you're in that's usually somewhere 8 to 10 percent," Farnen said.
Some area municipalities that are not waiving their local sales tax are Brentwood, Clayton, and Frontenac.
Reserve funds used to help with Mo. cash flow
Missouri officials have used money from a reserve fund to help with the state's cash flow.
The state Office of Administration reported Thursday that $100 million was borrowed from the Budget Reserve Fund. The funds must be repaid by mid-May next year. Officials reported state revenue was significantly higher in July compared with one year ago. That is mostly because of $39 million from Missouri's share of a national settlement among states, the federal government and lenders for home foreclosure abuses.
State collections from individual income taxes were down 3.4 percent compared with July 2011.
Signs along highways to display road deaths
The Missouri Department of Transportation says it has begun using its electronic message signs along highways to report the number of people who have died on the state's roads so far this year. The messages also include the percentage of those killed who were not wearing seat belts.
The new safety campaign comes as Missouri has seen a 14 percent increase in traffic fatalities this year - an unwelcome reversal after six years of declining fatality figures. MoDOT says it will update the fatality messages weekly and show them in both rural and urban areas.