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Sales-Tax Holiday Begins Without Richmond Heights, Clayton

More than 160 other Missouri cities have chosen to do the same.

will not participate in this weekend's Missouri sales-tax holiday in an effort to maintain the city's revenue stream, an official with the city said.

"We are a municipality that is heavily dependent on sales taxes for our general fund revenue," said Irene Johnson, public relations coordinator for the city. Richmond Heights hosts such retail destinations as the and The Boulevard-Saint Louis.

Clayton won't participate either, and more than 160 other cities also have chosen to opt out of the three-day event, information posted to the Missouri Department of Revenue's website states. That means people purchasing state-approved school supplies, personal computers and clothing in those cities will still have to pay municipal sales taxes. They just won't have to pay sales taxes levied by the state of Missouri or St. Louis County, which chose to participate in the holiday.

Richmond Heights has opted out for some time, Johnson said. Over the years, City Council has decided it would not be prudent to affect the city's revenue stream given factors such as the down economy and the Highway 40 reconstruction project.

The issue of lost revenue has been a topic of discussion for years. In an August 2005 interview, executive director Gary Markenson of the Missouri Municipal League told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that research suggests state and local governments lost roughly $18.5 million in taxes during the tax holiday in 2004.

Clayton City Manager Craig Owens stated in an email interview that the city hasn't participated in the holiday for the past several years because of its retail mix.

"The purpose of the tax holiday is to assist and encourage families shopping for back-to-school items," Owens stated. "The retail mix of Clayton generally does not provide those types of items, and shoppers wouldn’t benefit. Clayton does not have the kind of ‘big box’ stores that our neighboring communities have, and that’s the type of retail that markets to the school-shopping families."

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