By now most Missourians know that in the November election they will be casting ballots on a small gasoline tax hike, with some of the added revenue from the tax going to cities and counties if passed.
It is known as Proposition D.
That is the right way to go about raising a statewide gasoline tax hike — share the new revenue with law enforcement, cities and counties, which will permit them to make needed transportation improvements.
There isn’t a city or county in Missouri that doesn’t need added revenue for roads and bridges and other transportation needs.
The estimates of the added money for counties and cities make the tax appealing, if that can be said about any tax hike. The 10-cent tax would be phased in over four years — 2.5 cents a year — so the hit isn’t all at once. Missouri’s state gasoline tax now is 17 cents a gallon. Can anybody remember when the last increase was? Well, it was in 1996.
When it comes to a state gasoline tax, Missouri ranks at or near the bottom in the country. If approved, the tax would go into effect in July 2019.
The tax would generate about $288 million annually for the State Road Fund, which would provide some funds for the Highway Patrol, and generate about $123 million for local governments for transportation needs.
If the tax is approved, 70 percent would go to the state, 15 percent to counties and 15 percent to municipalities. Counties and cities would receive funds from the tax based on population.
Warren County would receive about $399,000 annually.
The election was called by the General Assembly after years of discussing a gasoline tax increase. What is on the ballot was arrived at through compromises. It’s about as fair as any ballot issue can be on a tax hike. The average motorist in the state will pay a few dollars more when “gassing up” and so the burden is not that great.
It’s important that voters be informed and vote yes on this tax. It’s needed. The price to be paid is small.