League of Women Voters learn about ballot measures

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COLUMBIA - The League of Women Voters heard from supporters and opponents of the Aug. 5 ballot measures Thursday at the Columbia Public Library.

Speakers for and against each of the possible amendments gave presentations to approximately 90 people at the meeting.

The meeting covered all five amendments. The bills are the "right to farm," right to bear arms, a lottery to benefit veterans, a measure dealing with electronic data protection and a transportation sales tax.

The sales tax that would fund transportation caused a lot of discussion. Jewell Patak with Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, spoke in favor of the tax. 

"Obviously Missourians agree that we have a transportation problem. We have 2,000 bridges in the state of Missouri that are obsolete and need to be replaced or repaired," Patak said. "We've got 20,000 miles of roads without just basic safety measures. The kind of things that save lives."

Patak said the sales tax increase is a sustainable way to secure funding, and is better than increasing the fuel tax because it would distribute the costs to other things, rather than driving up gas rates.

However, opponent Terry Ganey, spokesperson for Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, said exempting gasoline from the tax is unfair.

"Seniors, many of whom don't drive, would have to pay more through the sales tax," Ganey said. "While trucks that use the roads and damage the roads would not have to pay anymore in the motor fuel tax."

The League of Women Voters, along with all other Missouri residents, will have the chance to voice their opinion on these issues Aug. 5 at the polls.