House Committee OKs Sales Tax for Transportation
JEFFERSON CITY - Heavy snow Tuesday didn't stop a house committee from unanimously approving a proposed sales tax hike for transportation infrastructure.
The proposal would raise the state sales tax by one cent for ten years on everything except food, fuel and medicine. The revenue from the tax would be set aside specifically for transportation projects. Missouri voters would have final say over whether the tax goes into effect if it passes the legislature.
So far, the proposal has broad bipartisan support in both chambers. Bill sponsor Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, told KOMU 8 News he expects either his bill or its senate counterpart to pass the legislature with ease. Hinson said the only other options to raise this much revenue would be raising the fuel tax or licensing fees, neither of which he expected Missourians to support.
Rep. Bob Burns, D-St. Louis, said the jobs and infrastructure improvements resulting from the tax would be well worth the price. He said an increased sales tax would not be easy for some Missourians, but the state would ultimately benefit.
Although nobody at the hearing voiced any opposition, opponents say they are concerned by how the tax would be implemented. Jeanette Mott Oxford, director of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare, told KOMU 8 News even a one cent sales tax hike hurts low-income Missourians. She said such people still need to be able to buy items ranging from furniture to household cleaning supplies to clothing, and they do not have discretionary income to spare. Oxford said eliminating the state's federal income tax deduction would raise at least half of the revenue the sales tax would, and the rest could come from tying the state fuel tax to inflation.
The proposal now moves to the full house chamber. Its senate counterpart is still in committee.