Group Sends a Firm Warning About Amendment 7

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COLE COUNTY -  A Cole County judge rejected a lawsuit by the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW) on the wording of Amendment 7 on Tuesday. Amendment 7 is the $6 billion sales tax increase for highway maintenance that voters will see on the ballot this August.

MASW says the ballot wording is not clear or objective in displaying the nature of the bill, but the judge ruled against the petition to change the wording. MASW responded by warning voters to take a close look before making a decision on how they vote.

"We believe the voters of Missouri deserve truth in advertising and ballot language that is scrupulously true, impartial, and clear," Executive Director of MASW Jeanette Mott Oxford said." We are very disappointed that the judge ruled that our case is moot. We don't agree with that ruling."

The organization said it still believes the wording contained in the ballot issue is "misleading", but instead of pursuing another lawsuit, will focus its effort toward education in order to prevent similar ballot issues.

"We object to our opponents slowing the case down and then pleading that the case was too late. We further believe that using the language related to safety on the ballot creates an emotional squeeze, meant to frighten voters," said Oxford.

If approved, this proposed three-quarters cent sales tax increase will be the highest tax increase in Missouri history.

Oxford said she is more concerned about the low-income population that already pays a large percentage of the sales tax. State data shows families in the lowest income margin pay 9.6 percent of their income towards sales taxes -the largest share out of all income brackets.

Oxford says one in every five families in Missouri that are non-elderly houselholds live on less than $17 thousand a year of income. Those families currently pay almost 16 percent of their income in sales and local taxes.

The organization says its intent on petitioning the language change was to ensure voters have fair, sufficient and impartial language on the ballot so they can vote in an informed manner.

MASW says the voters have the ultimate say and warns them to do thorough research before August 5. The Missouri State Troopers announced their support of the bill Tuesday, but did not issue a response to the ruling or MASW.