November 2021 Use Tax

Why does it matter?

The feedback provided by citizens through the City Manager's Listening Tour was instrumental for City Council to establish Council Goals to move our city forward. With key priorities identified, City Staff then converted this data into plans and programs intended to positively change the trajectory of the community. These Action Plans identify both physical infrastructure and public service personnel needs required to accomplish the work envisioned, however the City’s current revenues are not sufficient to address these needed services. Additional resources are required to address the challenges identified through the community survey. Revenues from the Use Tax would be used to improve the community through the newly developed Action Plans, allowing for the processes and plans to be set in motion.

What is a Use Tax?

On November 2, 2021, Joplin voters will answer a question whether to collect a local use tax on items purchased from out-of-state vendors and shipped to Joplin for use. It is listed as “City of Joplin – Proposition Action”.  

A use tax applies to purchases made from out-of-state vendors and shipped to a location in Joplin. It is applied to the same type of products subject to traditional sales tax. The difference is where the goods are purchased and shipped. If you purchase an item at a retail store in Joplin, you pay city sales tax. On the other hand, if you purchase an item through the internet or by catalog from an out-of-state business and have the item shipped to Joplin, then the use tax would apply. You would never pay both. It’s one or the other, depending on where the goods are purchased.

The Use Tax will be collected at the same rate as the current Sales Tax (3.125  percent). Revenues collected from the Use Tax will be used to improve the community by meeting the City Council goals through the 2021 Action Plans.

For more information on the use tax please the FAQ page here.

Use Tax vs Sales Tax table

City Council Visioning Workshop

On November 30, 2020 the Joplin City Council met for a Strategic Planning Workshop to:

Create a shared vision of Joplin’s future that will excite and engage the community;

• Review trends, identify issues and opportunities, and establish priorities; and

•  Develop a framework for Joplin’s strategic plan.

During this Strategic Planning Workshop, Council members worked together to begin a new focus within our city, and set the following priorities with these goals: 

  • Improve community appearance, including public properties maintained by the City.
  • Address declining neighborhoods.
  • Increase economic opportunities for all.
  • Address homelessness.
  • Reduce crime & increase safety.
  • Create and grow resilient revenue to improve City service levels and maintain infrastructure.


Community appearance

community appearance button

Declining neighborhoods

declining neighborhoods button

Economic development

Economic development

Address homelessness

Address homelessness

Crime & safety

Crime & safety

Resilient revenue

Resilient revenue

2021 Action Plans

Following the Council’s goal setting, City staff worked with community partners to develop strategies with nearly 50 plans outlined in the 2021 Action Plans. Each of the plans fall under one of the goal areas identified during the City Council Workshop. 

The 2021 Action Plans were originally presented to City Council in February for discussion. City Staff made Council’s recommended changes, and the 2021 Action Plans were unanimously approved on May 10, 2021 to advance the community as stated in the Council Goals.

These Action Plans outline numerous programs and processes that could be utilized to accomplish Council goals. By providing a step approach to address specific targets, Action Plans set the path while also identifying the anticipated resources needed if that action plan is initiated. Some plans may require code changes, while others would create new ways in approaching an area or issue of concern. Some additional resources, such as staffing or funding, may be needed, and is noted within the individual action plan.

What is the question on the ballot?

November 2 Ballot Language: PROPOSITION “ACTION”

In an attempt to eliminate the unfair advantage enjoyed by out-of-state vendors over local vendors, shall the City of Joplin, Missouri impose a Local Use Tax at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate, currently three and one eighth percent (3 1/8%), provided that if any local sales tax is repealed, reduced, or raised by voter approval, the local use tax rate shall also be repealed, reduced or raised by the same action? A use tax return shall not be required to be filed by persons whose purchases from out of state vendors do not in total exceed two thousand dollars in any calendar year.

Listening Tour Background

In August of 2020, City Manager Nick Edwards initiated a “Listening Tour” in the community to hear citizens’ ideas and concerns about Joplin’s future. Similar to a “SWOT Analysis” (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), this feedback served as the foundation as the City of Joplin made plans to address concerns and position the community for a brighter future.

Please use the links to the right to view  the community's responses to the five-question survey.

City Manager's Listening Tour

Question 1: What Makes Joplin Special?

Respondents noted that the Joplin community cared for others by giving, assisting and supporting. To residents, being a cohesive community is a value statement and the strength of Joplin.  This strength is an asset and can help   improve the community. It is this mindset that gives citizens the ability to collectively achieve any outcome. It is the reason Joplin is known to rally together to build a better community for future generations. Joplin should continue to use its cohesiveness, friendly atmosphere, and other strengths to maintain its character.

Question 1 LT Graph
Question 1 LT Key

Question 2: What Is Something Joplin Could Do Better?

Like many other cities around the country, Joplin faces a need to address societal and community issues related to homelessness, diversity, and inclusion. In regard to homelessness, responses show that Joplin is a community that aids those in need, while also indicating homelessness issues are an area of concern. This suggests that the City may need to balance the aid provided by the community with efforts that limit the opportunity for those in need to unnecessarily take advantage of the existing systems, processes, organizations, generosity, and support provided by the community. Did you know that 42% of all structure fires within the City can be attributed to the illegal access of vacant and empty structures? Because Joplin is a giving and supportive community, the community becomes an attractive environment for those in need. Without community supported efforts to balance the needs of homeless individuals with efforts to deter those who harm, vandalize, and threaten the safety and viability of the community, it will hamper the City’s ability to grow and thrive.

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Question 2 LT Key

Question 3: What Do You See As Opportunities For Joplin?

Respondents agreed that amenities and entertainment options provide places or experiences that can help improve the community’s “live-ability”. The community has recently engaged in future planning for Ewert Park, Memorial Hall, and the development of the Parks Master Plan. Through these efforts the City will have a roadmap to pursue community supported projects to enhance the City’s amenities and entertainment resources. Citizens also expressed economic development needs ranging from new business recruitment, both large and small, while also advancing job skills for those within manufacturing and industry careers. This demonstrates how live-ability and job growth are intertwined - place attracts people, people attract jobs, jobs create opportunity for prosperity. This will change the trajectory of the community by moving past the status quo to a brighter future.

Question 3 LT Graph
Question 3 LT Key

Question 4: What is the biggest threat facing our community?

A fundamental need for the entire community is the need for safety. Without a safe and secure community, Joplin businesses, schools, and institutions cannot flourish. For a community, the need for safety requires that we prioritize investments and resources that keep us safe. As the community grows, there will be a need to ensure that Police, Fire, and Health Department services keep pace with this growth. Additionally, more communities are embracing concepts that incorporate safety considerations into the design of physical environments. This is evident as communities embrace Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) concepts and through the adoption of more modern building and design codes.

Question 4 LT Graph
Question 4 LT Key

Question 5: What would you like to see change in Joplin over the next 5, 10, and 15 years?

There is a desire to see a “beautification” of Joplin. Improving the outward presentation of the community can make a statement to future residents and investors that Joplin is a community of opportunity and not decline. Community beautification can take many forms such as cleaning up streets and parks, enhancing landscaping and green spaces, and removing blight. Beautification is also possible if it is embraced by residential and commercial developers. Cities can require higher standards for new building and landscape designs through improved ordinances. Partnerships with existing residents and businesses should be pursued to create an implied community standard. Improving standards provides encouragement and accountability to the community as a whole.

Question 5 LT Graph
Question 5 LT Key