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Sales Tax Increase to Fund Roads Makes Comeback

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Photo: KMOX

Photo: KMOX

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) - Missourians may yet again get a chance to vote on raising their taxes if a new ballot measure gets enough signatures.

The proposed ballot initiative will increase the sales tax by one percent, or one cent, if passed and all proceeds from the proposed tax increase would go towards improving Missouri roads.

A lobbyist on behalf of former state senator and chairman of the Missouri Highway Commission Bill McKenna filed the proposal. The proposed measure is similar to a bill that failed in the Senate in May.

Rep. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, voted against the proposal in the House and remains opposed to a tax increase. Koenig said it is similar to the failed tobacco tax increase.

“A one cent sales tax is a huge tax increase for Missourians,” Koenig said. “That’s something I’m going to be opposed to.”

Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, who sponsored a failed infrastructure bond measure in May, said the initiative has little chance of passing. Kelly also voted against last year’s measure in the House.

Kelly said many local governments will oppose the measure because their potential revenue will only be used for one purpose.

“There’s nothing in it for them,” Kelly said. “It will mean no new revenue for the foreseeable future for mental health, public education or higher education.”

The wording of the proposal still needs to be approved by Attorney General Chris Koster before Missourians can sign the petition.

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