Missourians May Vote to Increase Sales Tax for Transportation After All

Citizens will attempt to do what the Missouri General Assembly narrowly rejected: raise the sales tax by one percent to fund state, county and city roads as well as public transit. If enough signatures are gathered, it will be on the ballot next year
October 30, 2013, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Kansas City Business Journal reporter Austin Alonzo writes that a "petition (PDF) submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State's office in late October... is reviving the one-cent transportation sales tax proposal that was originally brought up in the Missouri General Assembly in February and was narrowly defeated in the closing days of the 2013 legislative session."

While the sponsor of that measure was a Republican, the bill had difficulty in the Senate with "Republican legislators who oppose raising taxes", Alonzo wrote on May 15.

When the petition is certified and ballot language approved in mid-November, "petitioners will need a certain number of registered voters to sign the petition before a May 2014 deadline in order to put the question on a statewide ballot in November", writes Alonzo.

Missouri is a step ahead of Colorado where a "transportation study group is rolling out a proposal to place a .7%, 10-year general sales tax on the 2014 ballot", according to a Planetizen post of Sept. 11. Its unclear the Colorado group has submitted the measure as those in Missouri have done.

As for raising the Mo. gas tax, Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt wrote on December 20, 2011 about a major highway expansion that would have doubled it. "Missouri’s state gas tax currently stands at 17¢ a gallon and has not changed since 1996", she cited from Gateway Streets. Her suggestion was for Missouri "to raise the gas tax and forget about this project." 

Raising sales taxes has become more popular since Virginia raised theirs by .3 percent while eliminating its 17.5-cent excise tax on July 1. Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood praised their approach on Oct. 16, which included adding a new 3.5 percent wholesale sales tax and a $64 hybrid and electric vehicle annual fee, as "thinking outside the box". However, his main suggestion was to raise and index gas taxes.

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Published on Monday, October 28, 2013 in Kansas City Business Journal
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