WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday that Missouri's tax on the use of out-of-state products is unconstitutional, but only to the extent that the use levy exceeds local sales taxes.

The case, Associated Industries of Missouri v. Lohman, Director of Revenue of Missouri, has been closely watched by state and local interests because it raised questions about preserving state and local autonomy in setting tax rates, said Richard Ruda, chief counsel for the State and Local Legal Center in Washington.

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