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Mo. Senate Passes 1-Cent Sales Tax For Transportation Needs

via Flickr/KOMUnews

A proposed constitutional amendment that would create a temporary one-cent sales tax to fund transportation needs has passed the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 16 is estimated to raise nearly $8 billion, one-tenth of which would go to cities and counties for local transportation needs.  In addition, around $1 billion would go towards expanding Interstate 70 to six lanes between Wentzville and Blue Springs.  It would also require voter approval, and voters would have to say "yes" again 10 years later if they want to expand the life of the penny sales tax.  The sponsor isSenator Mike Kehoe(R, Jefferson City), a former member of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.  Still, several Republicans opposed the measure.  State Senator John Lamping(R, Ladue) says it would not only raise taxes, but that special interests stand to make a lot of money.

“If this bill comes to pass, a campaign will begin to convince Missouri citizens to relieve themselves of $8 billion dollars," Lamping said.  "If but one percent of that $8 billion goes into that campaign, that being $80 million, I would suggest that Missouri citizens start pretty far behind.”

Senate President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles) strongly defended the proposal.

“As you look at the state of Missouri on a map, we should be a hub for the movement of goods and services," Dempsey said.  "But in order to do that, we have to have an infrastructure system that can accommodate that.”

The resolution passed 24 to 10, with all 10 “no” votes coming from Republicans.  It now goes to the Missouri House, where Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) is on record as saying he would prefer a plan that does not include a tax hike.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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