As mentioned last week, the Chair of the Policy Development Caucus, Representative Jeff Messenger, has been touring the state gathering feedback from Missourians about road funding options. I am a part of this committee and expressed a few concerns about some of the suggested options, but Representative Messenger wanted to seek some true input from taxpayers about several different paths for funding.
Also, as mentioned last week, I do not endorse any particular option expressed in these meetings, but I am opposed to toll roads and reverting lettered highways back to counties. However, these are only two of eight potential funding options currently being considered. I will discuss two additional funding options in the first section of this week’s report.
In other news, as mentioned around Veto Session, House and Senate leadership tasked their members with developing a solution to preserve in-home and nursing care for disabled Missourians who are impacted by a change in the point system that determines eligibility. Now, House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick and Senator Mike Cunningham say they are close to unveiling a solution they will be able to present to their colleagues as soon as next week. More on this below.
Transportation Funding Options
This week I’ll begin with by continuing to outline options available for increased funding of transportation in Missouri. Unfortunately, increased funding means increased taxes and/or fees somewhere. Therefore, to receive your thoughts on the matter, some options are being publicly discussed to find these revenue sources. Again, I am not endorsing any particular option, but rather I present these to get your feedback.
The first option is a motor fuel excise increase or implementation of a motor fuel sales tax. Currently, Missouri collects a 17 cent (as of 1996) excise tax per gallon of fuel sold. A 1-cent increase would yield $41 million in additional revenue, while a 5-cent increase would yield $205 million. A similar variation would be to implement a fuel sales tax, which would be similar to the excise tax, but charged on the price per gallon of gas rather than on the number of gallons sold. Implementation of such a sales tax at 1-percent would yield $66 million, while a 5-percent tax would yield $331 million.
A second funding option is to increase the motor vehicle sales tax. This is the tax collected following the purchase of a vehicle. A motor vehicle sales tax increase would provide increased funding for roads and bridges, but would have to be a ballot issue, subject to voter approval. A 0.10-percent increase would yield $11 million in extra funding, while a 1-percent increase would yield $114 million. Additional transportation funding options will be discussed in future reports.
Please send your thoughts and/or proposals to: DEAN.DOHRMAN@HOUSE.MO.GOV . Your thoughts concerning this issue is very important for the future of our state.
House and Senate Leaders Continue to Work Toward Solution to Preserve Care for Disabled Missourians
On the last day of the 2017 legislative session, legislation was approved by the House in an attempt to preserve nursing and in- home care services for some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. In the days leading up to the conclusion of the session, House and Senate members had worked to find a solution that would keep the vital services intact. The House had passed a version of the bill that would end the renter’s portion of the senior citizens property tax credit (Circuit Breaker) in order to generate funds that would be used to protect the existing level of service. The Senate countered by passing a version of the bill that would raise the funds by “sweeping” the unexpended monies from several state funds associated with regulatory boards and commissions.
With the Senate unwilling to negotiate and no other options on the table, the House then approved the Senate solution and sent it to the governor’s desk. The governor promptly vetoed the bill calling it a “one-time gimmick” that drained funds from programs to prevent child abuse and neglect, assist injured workers, and to train police officers and firefighters. As the legislature did not have enough votes to override the governor’s veto during the annual Veto Session, House and Senate leaders tasked the House Budget Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee to develop a workable solution to the problem. These committees were given a three-week timeframe to find a solution, so the time is quickly drawing to a close. Other legislators, me included, await their recommendation and the possibility of a special session to address the issue.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.