Judge rules gas tax ballot does not violate the state constitution

3 months 3 days 13 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 6:37:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
By: Mercedes Mackay, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - Voters will now be able to decide whether or not they approve of a gas tax increase, after an Osage County judge ruled in the state's favor on Tuesday. 

Proposition D would raise Missouri's fuel tax by 10 cents per gallon over 4 years. 

Scott Charton, communications director for SaferMo.com, said the state needs Proposition D to pass in order to keep up with transportation needs.

"We need to put significant new money into state highways, local roads, local streets and local bridges," he said. 

Opponents of the proposition, activist Ron Calzone and Rep. Mike Moon, R-Lawrence, filed a lawsuit over House Bill 1460 in July because the bill had more than one purpose. 

It included a tax deduction for prizes or awards won by Olympic medalists and called for a vote on Proposition D to increase the fuel tax.

Judge Robert Schollmeyer ruled it was not unconstitutional because the fuel tax referendum and the tax deduction both fall under the broader umbrella of regulating revenue. 

Charton said he was not surprised with the court ruling. 

"Proposition D is clearly within the bounds of constitution and the law," he said. 

Moon and Calzone are currently working on an appeal. 

“In a time when Missourians are clamoring for checks and balances between the different branches of government, it appears that the legislature is being handed an open checkbook," Moon said in a press release. "Whatever the legislature wants, the courts will ‘have their backs.'"

Jerry Dowell, director of government affairs for Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber sees Proposition D as an investment and not a tax. 

"It will allow us to fix some of the problem areas that we have around the community," he said. 

If Proposition D is fully implemented it would generate $2.8 million regionally.

The fuel tax referendum will be decided on November 6.

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