Missouri's top transportation official is calling for of a 1-cent sales tax increase to help pay for transportation repairs and new construction, even as many state lawmakers are urging cuts to a wide variety of taxes.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
, Highways and Transportation Commission Chairman Rudy Farber said the increase would supplement the state's gas tax, which has been steadily dropping as cars become more fuel-efficient. The tax would generate nearly $8 billion over the next 10 years, he said.
The proposal has been embraced by Republican State Sen. Mike Kehoe, and Republican Reps. Dave Schatz and Dave Hinson, who are pushing the measure in the legislature even though the GOP controlled House has gone on record in opposition to all tax increases.
Missouri's highway system is the seventh largest in the country, according to the Pos-Dispatch, which reported that state's current transportation budget of $700 million is not enough to cover the cost of tending to the 33,000 miles of roadway within state borders.
If approved as an amendment initiative to the state constitution, the public would have the final say on the issue in November 2014.
Missouri is one of many states where the need for more transportation funding is colliding with efforts to provide tax relief. Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell, for example, is trying to push through a transportation funding plan that relies on an increased sales tax.
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