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State Senate passes sales tax for transportation proposal

Missourians will get a chance to vote on a one cent sales tax for transportation needs under a resolution passed by the Missouri Senate Thursday.

SJR 16, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, would submit to voters a constitutional amendment imposing a one-cent sales and use tax for a ten year period. The sales and


Sen. Mike Kehoe


use tax could be renewed by voters after the ten year period expires. If approved by the House, SJR 16 would appear on the November 2014 statewide ballot. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 24-10.

Sen. Kehoe says the only way to keep the state’s transportation system moving forward is through the sales tax route. Kehoe says MoDOT is running out of ways to keep funds flowing for infrastructure work. Due to decreases in gasoline tax revenues, the predominant funding source for MoDOT, the department’s funding has dropped from about $1.4 billion a year for construction projects, down to about $700 million.

Kehoe says the proposal would raise about $8 billion over the life of the sales tax and generate about 270,000 jobs.

“We hit the cliff everybody had been predicting,” said Kehoe during debate on the Senate floor this week. Kehoe is a former chairman of the State Highways and Transportation Commission. “I think it’s this body’s job…, A – to identify problems, which is not always popular, and B – to present to the public potential fixes.”

Kehoe’s plan would freeze gas taxes and not allow for tolling to take place unless there is a vote of the people. The Highway and Transportation Commission would provide a list of projects that would be funded by the new sales tax before a vote took place. And the commission would have to report progress yearly to the state legislature.

The bill now moves on to the state House of Representatives where Speaker of the House Tim Jones has told reporters on numerous occasions that a proposal be revenue neutral, and on Thursday, Jones said it appears HJR 16 fits the bill.

Associated Industries has not taken a formal stance on the proposal and needs to hear from its members, particularly those who are members of the Missouri Transportation Development Council. Any AIM member wishing to voice their opinion should do so as soon as possible by contacting Ray McCarty at rmccarty@aimo.com .

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