The West Central Missouri Association of Realtors heard from Scott Charton, spokesman for the Taxpayer Protection Amendment, at their meeting held Thursday at noon at the Heckart Family Center in Sedalia.

Charton is a proponent of Amendment 4, which will be voted on by taxpayers at the General Election Nov. 4, an amendment that must be approved, he emphasized.

Amendment 4 was certified to be on the ballot in August. If approved by voters, it would ban a sales tax on services. The “Taxpayer Protection Amendment” would prevent the state from taxing such services as hair cuts, car repairs, tattoos, veterinary visits and lawn care, to name a few. The amendment “would protect Missourians from these new sales tax on services,” Charton said.

The Missouri Association of Realtors circulated the initiative petition and has been its strongest proponent, reportedly spending upwards of $2 million on the effort. The Missouri Bankers Association, the Missouri Press Association and the Missouri Broadcasters Association have joined the coalition recently. In Missouri, a sales tax on services was proposed each of the last seven years, Charton noted.

Missouri has never had a broad sales tax on services, but Charton said, it's happening in other states such as North Carolina and Washington. And it's been proposed in Missouri.

“Politicians borrow bad ideas. A sales tax of services is a bad idea,” Charton stressed. He called it a “cradle-to-grave tax.” A new sales tax on services is just not right, he said. And businesses would be inconvenienced to keep track of the new tax, requiring new software. “You'd probably need an accountant, you might even need a lawyer … the government is hungry for more money. Amendment 4 would stop any new sales tax on services. And that's why we're confident Missourians are going to vote yes on Amendment 4 on November 8.”

Many Realtors at the meeting Thursday were decked out in blue T-shirts with yellow-and white lettering, with buttons attached, promoting the movement to vote yes on 4. And many took yard signs with them when they left, urging voters to say yes to Amendment 4. Most all of them posed for a group photo following the meeting.

Charton is a retired Associated Press Missouri political writer from Columbia.