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.
Mo. Sen. Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City) announces a proposed constitutional amendment to create a temporary 1-cent sales tax to fund transportation needs. At left is MHTC chair Rudy Farber, & at right is co-sponsor Sen. Ryan McKenna (D, Crystal City).
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.
Mo. House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) stands to the left of former Speaker Rod Jetton (R), co-chair of the Blue Ribbon transportation panel. Standing behind Jetton, wearing a beige jacket, is fellow co-chair, former State Sen. Bill McKenna (D).
A panel appointed by the Missouri House to study the state’s transportation needs released its final report today, one day before the start of the 2013 legislative session.
It states that Missouri needs an additional $600 million to $1 billion a year – for several years – to maintain roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. The report lays out several options for meeting that gap, but doesn’t recommend any specific funding methods. Retired Democratic State Senator Bill McKenna co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs. He says some of the options won’t appeal to the Republican majority.
Some Metro Transit riders saw new fare boxes as they boarded buses today.
The agency is testing the new fare boxes, which look a little like vending machines, on 40 of its buses.
The new fare boxes don’t allow customers to drop all of their money into the machines at the same time, and Metro Transit spokeswoman Dianne Williams said that change has been the source of most early complaints.
Sales tax holiday this weekend in Missouri - except for a few municipalities
It will be a big weekend for back-to-school shopping in Missouri as the state's annual sales tax holiday runs Friday through Sunday. School supplies, clothing items under $100, and personal computers under $3,500 are among the goods that will be exempt from the state's 4.2 percent tax.
Cities and counties can choose to opt out and charge local taxes, but as Missouri Department of Revenue spokesman Ted Farnen says many are taking part.
A panel created by the Missouri House to review the state's transportation needs met Monday in Columbia.
Most of the testimony heard by the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs centered on improving the state's highways, and whether those improvements should include a toll road -- be it I-70 or another major highway. Bob Gilbert with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce told the panel that the state should also upgrade U.S. Highway 50.
Crews building the new span across the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis have hit an important project milestone - the completion of the twin 400-foot towers. Within a week, workers will start stringing cables from the towers to support the 1,500-foot main span.
"This is great," said project manager Greg Horn with the Missouri Department of Transportation. "These towers were one of the big things we had to get done."
There's no easy part of the project this massive, Horn said, but crews are feeling a sense of relief.