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Car Sales Tax Legislation Passes, Gov. Parson To Sign

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and the Kehlenbrink talk to media after the General Assembly passed the multiple vehicle sales tax legislation on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2019.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio
Gov. Mike Parson applauded the General Assembly for passing legislation that allows residents to trade in multiple vehicles to reduce sales tax when buying a newer model. With him is the Kehlenbrink family, whose efforts led to the measure.

Missouri lawmakers on Friday passed the multiple-vehicle sales tax legislation that Gov. Mike Parson called a special legislative session for. 

Parson received criticism from Democratic legislators for not adding gun violence to the agenda, but he has repeatedly said that contentious issues are better suited for the regular session. 

“Let me be clear: This doesn’t match the violent crime situations we're having in this state,” Parson said. “This is just a matter of fact, is the right thing to do, by passing this law to help everyday citizens out there.”

The proposal will allow residents to trade in multiple vehicles to reduce their sales tax when buying a newer car. Parson decided to call a special session, to run concurrently with the state’s annual veto session, to clarify the law after a state Supreme Court decision in June

“The first opportunity I had to fix it was veto session, and I felt like I could,” he said. “If I hadn’t of done it then and waited (for) the first of the year, there would have been thousands upon thousands of people who would have lost their hard-earned money in the process of this.” 

This has been an unresolved issue in Missouri for years, and it was the Kehlenbrink family that eventually got their denial taken all the way to the state Supreme Court for clarification. Scott Kehlenbrink is an attorney. He said when his dad, David, received a denial for his sales tax refund after trading in four vehicles in 2017, he wanted to make sure his parents received a tax savings.

“What’s right is right, and that’s what started this whole endeavor,” Scott Kehlenbrink said. “It really started on the table at Thanksgiving when my dad showed me the denial from the Department of Revenue.” 

David Kehlenbrink said it was “unbelievable” to be standing next to the governor at a press conference on Friday after the legislation passed the General Assembly.

“I didn’t expect it to blow up like this,” he said. “I was just trying to do the right thing. Everybody pays taxes on vehicles and other items when they buy them, and they should get a credit when they already paid a tax.” 

Earlier in the week, Parson met with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and law enforcement officials to address the city’s gun violence issue. A full plan is expected to be released next week, but Parson said it will mainly consists of more “boots on the ground,” or increasing law enforcement presence. 

Follow Jaclyn Driscoll on Twitter: @DriscollNPR.

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Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.

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