Mo. GOP Senators Vow to Defeat Transportation Tax

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JEFFERSON CITY - Several GOP senators told KOMU 8 News Thursday their views have not changed and they still opposed a one percent sales tax hike for road projects.

The Missouri House passed legislation Wednesday to allow voters to decide in November on whether to approve the tax, which would raise more than $800 million per year for road projects over a ten year period. The House plan now heads over to the Senate, where it will meet senators who voted it down last year.

Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, was a leader of a final-days filibuster in last year's legislative session and said he will oppose the plan again this year. Emery said the state needs to find money in its current budget to fix up roads and bridges.

"I don't think it's that complicated of an issue," Emery said. "It's about whether we're going to tax our constituents more or whether we're going to simply address the need for reforms that would help reign in the cost of maintaining our roads and bridges and to me that issue hasn't changed."

Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, told KOMU 8 News he will also oppose the plan again this session.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs had started an initiative petition in 2013 to get the proposal on the ballot, but it suspended its effort, waiting for legislative action.

If the Senate defeats the proposal, Missouri voters may not get to decide on the issue until 2016.