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Missouri Lawmakers Approve Sales Tax Exemption For Farmers Markets

Grant Gerlock
Harvest Public Media

Products sold at Missouri farmers markets will be exempt from sales taxes following a veto override by the Republican-led Legislature.

The bill was among a slew of last-minute tax-exemption measures that Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, had vetoed earlier this year as fiscally irresponsible. Republicans said some merely clarified state policy and others helped the state remain economically competitive.

The Missouri Department of Revenue estimated the sales tax exemption would cost the state about $228,000 in lost revenue based on annual sales revenue at Missouri farmers markets of about $14.5 million. Local governments would also lose some revenue.

The Senate voted 27-3 on Wednesday and the House voted 110-48 on Thursday to override Nixon’s veto. An override requires a two-thirds majority of both chambers.

The bill applies only to operations with annual sales of less than $25,000. It also requires the Department of Social Services to establish a pilot program allowing participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, to use their benefits to buy fresh food at farmers markets.

Lawmakers overrode a record 47 line-item budget vetoes. But it only overrode two of 10 bills granting new or expanded tax exemptions. The farmers market measure was one of the two.

Other health-related measures vetoed by Nixon and overridden by the Legislature included:

  • A bill banning the sale of so-called e-cigarettes to minors. Nixon had objected to a provision that would have barred the state from regulating and taxing e-cigarettes like tobacco products. The federal Food and Drug Administration is considering the adoption of rules treating e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
  • A bill requiring a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. Current law mandates a 24-hour waiting period. Proponents said the extended period will give women more time to digest material they receive at clinics. Nixon said the extension would serve “no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women who have undoubtedly already spent considerable time wrestling with perhaps the most difficult decision they may ever have to make.”

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