Group Challenges Bill for New Transportation Tax

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Association for Social Welfare is challenging a bill for a new transportation tax.

The association has filed a lawsuit to fight the wording of the bill. In its petition the group said the ballot title "is not a true or impartial statement of the purpose of the proposed constitution amendment and said official ballot title is intentionally argumentative and is likely to create prejudice."

The ballot reads, "Should the Missouri Constitution be changed to enact a temporary sales tax of three-quarters of one percent to be used solely to fund state and local highways, roads, bridges and transportation projects for 10 years, with priority given to repairing unsafe roads and bridges?"

Jeanette Oxford, Executive Director, said the wording of the bill pressures voters to say "yes" and doesn't tell them the full impact of the tax increase. She said the bill implies only one tax will be affected. However the ballot would raise the use tax in addition to the sales tax.

"The language in there about unsafe roads and bridges I think tries to create some emotional pressure for people to vote 'yes,'" Oxford said. "When voters are going to vote on something, they should receive accurate language so that they know what they're voting on."

Defendants did not respond to KOMU 8's request for comment. The organization and state officials will meet for a hearing June 26.