Gov. Jay Nixon may be the primary reason a proposed transportation sales tax failed this week at the polls, according to one political expert.
George Connor, political science professor at Missouri State University in Springfield, says the governor's decision to place the 0.75 percent sales tax on the August primary ballot likely doomed it to failure because most of the state's primary races drew in GOP voters.
Missourians will vote Aug. 5 on a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation projects. The proposal — commonly known as the transportation tax — would generate billions of dollars over the next decade to fix roads, repair bridges and improve mass transit.
The stakes are high. Supporters say Missouri needs more money for its aging transportation infrastructure. With gas tax revenue dwindling and federal funding uncertain, some policymakers see the sales tax as a guaranteed way to fund transportation needs.
A group of Republicans in the Missouri Senate has blocked a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a one-cent sales tax to help fund the state’s transportation needs.
The tax would require voter approval and would expire after 10 years unless voters renew it. Five percent of revenues raised would be designated for cities and another five percent for counties to pay for local transportation needs. Those factors were not enough to sway several Republicans, including Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, who conducted a filibuster Tuesday night.
Legislation has stalled in the Missouri Senate that would allow investor-owned electric companies to charge consumers for infrastructure improvements.
Opponents argued that Ameren Missouri, Empire District and Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) make enough money to pay for improvements without levying an Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge (ISRS) on their customers. Several Senators are blocking the measure, including Republican Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph.
Some concerns have been raised in the Missouri Senate over a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a temporary one-cent sales tax to fund transportation needs.
The one-penny sales tax is expected to raise nearly $8 billion over ten years. All money raised would go directly to the Missouri Dept. of Transportation (MoDOT), and that provision is not sitting well with some Senators. Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia says lawmakers should have at least some say into how that money would be spent.
The proposed constitutional amendment would create a one-cent sales tax that would expire after 10 years. It’s co-sponsored by State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City). He says the one-penny tax would not be levied on groceries, prescription medicine or fuel.
A joint House-Senate committee met today at the Missouri Capitol to discuss a proposed review of wages and benefits paid to state workers.
State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City) sits on the Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages. He says they’d like to hire a company to review Missouri’s entire compensation package for state employees.