$100M Driving Subsidy Proposed While Gas Tax Cut Again

By on March 12, 2019

From NextSTL:  State Representative and Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith (R) is proposing a $100M driving subsidy from Missouri’s general revenue. The driving lobby has been crying for more funding for years. The state built more miles than it can take care of running the program like an unfunded pension system- making promises, but not accounting for the long-term liabilities of those promises. The obfuscation of previous generations has left us holding the bag and now those liabilities are coming home to roost.

The Missouri Times – House budget chair proposes $100 million in general revenue to fund infrastructure

Voters rejected a 0.75% state-wide sales tax increase in August of 2014. Last November voters rejected a 10 cent per gallon fuel tax increase. Despite the clear message from voters, the Governor and legislators are grasping to find a way to spend more on roads and bridges.

Nextstl – Vote No on Prop D Gas Tax Increase

Governor Mike Parson is proposing a $350M bond issue. Missouri took on debt last decade. Today we’re paying for those roads plus interest crowding out current needs. The state has spent an average of $313M per year on debt service over the last five years.

Rep Smith, looking to avoid spending on interest and fees on bonds, is proposing using $100M per year in general revenue for the next five years to be spent on roads and bridges. General revenue that could be going to schools, healthcare, aid to the poor, state park maintenance, etc.

StreetsBlog – How Driving is Encouraged and Subsidized — By Law

Meanwhile the gas tax is continuously cut by inflation. What was 17 cents in 1996 is worth 27.7 cents today. That’s a 39% tax cut. Despite the fuel tax increase failing at the polls, the legislature could pass a small fuel tax increase on its own. But that would mean legislators would have to own a tax increase. SB430 by Senator Doug Libla (R) would increase the fuel tax by 2 cents per year for three years. HB822 by Representative Steve Butz (D) would increase the fuel tax by 2 cents per year for five years. Both would be inadequate to the needs identified by the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force.

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