Like many propositions and initiatives on the upcoming November 6 ballot, Proposition D is a multi-faceted issue that goes much deeper than increasing the state tax on gasoline.
First, the proposition would increase the state sales tax rate on gasoline by 10 cents. Currently, the state tax rate for gasoline in Missouri sits at 17 cents per gallon. It would stay at 17 cents per gallon until June 30, 2019. Starting July 1, 2019 it would increase to 19.5 cents per gallon. From there, for the next three years, it would increase steadily all the way up to 27 cents per gallon. The higher tax rate, if this proposition is passed, would be solidified on July 1, 2022. Currently gas prices are at an all-time 4 year high.
Natural gas, both compressed and liquefied, and propane used as an alternative motor vehicle fuel, would have a tax increase to 27 cents per gallon taking effect after December 31, 2019, 11 cents per gallon through December 2024, and 17 cents per gallon after that. In addition, the measure would require that going forward, the tax rate for motor fuels and alternative fuels would be equivalent.
Revenue from the gas tax increase would be dedicated to funding the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
“I have no problems with increasing the fuel tax for our roads, but this particular way of doing it, I just have some real concerns,” said Jay Wasson (R), Missouri State Senator representing the 20th District.
Switching gears, the second part of this proposition has nothing to do with transportation or road conditions, but would exempt any prizes won at Special Olympics, Paralympics, or Olympics from state income taxes.
The measure would also create a fund, the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund. It would contain money allocated from the state’s general fund by the state legislature and would be invested and managed by the state treasurer. Road projects would have to meet the following criteria: the project is a road improvement project with an estimated construction cost of at least $50 million; the project is required to alleviate a delay of 20 minutes or more during peak traffic hours that impacts freight and the distribution of goods; the project is required to reduce serious motor vehicle crashes causing fatalities or disabilities; the project is featured on the 2014 state freight plan; and the project is set to receive 35 percent of funds from sources besides the state road fund and general fund revenue.
“I have constituents who just don’t like these kinds of taxes and they’re African-American,” Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D), representing the 14th district, said. “Their issue is that the funds that are received from this do not adequately go to the urban core.”
Supporters of the amendment include advocacy group Safer MO, Governor Mike Parsons (R), Representative Jean Evans of the 99th District, and Representative Greg Razer (D) of the 25th District.