Proposed fuel tax might bring jobs to Missouri

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COLUMBIA - A fuel tax increase was pre-filed by a Columbia representative will raise gas prices by two cents per gallon.

The money from the fuel tax will go to MoDOT to make repairs to roads across Missouri. Kody Hackman, a Columbia resident, said he thinks this fuel tax is needed.

"I think it'll help our roadways a lot for sure. You know, there's a lot of places where the roads are just absolutely crappy," said Hackman.

The tax is currently 17 cents per gallon. This is the second-lowest tax in the nation

Rep. Kip Kendrick's, D-Columbia, bill would increase the tax to 19 cents per gallon for 2021-2031. Then, the tax would decrease to 18 cents per gallon.

His bill also includes a $450 million bond measure. If it becomes law, MoDOT would use the $450 million to improve roads across the state. The additional $60 million annual revenue generated from the tax would go toward paying off the bond. 

According to MoDOT, it estimates the unfunded annual transportation need to be $825 million as of 2019.

Kendrick said the fuel tax will create high paying jobs and have a multiplying effect on local communities.

"Workers {will be} coming into the area and spending money within certain regions of the state," Kip Kendrick.

Kendrick said improvements to roads can't wait. 

"The more the roads and bridges deteriorate, the more expensive the repairs become, and the more of a burden becomes on our state taxpayers," said Kendrick.

He says the increase is not a long term fix, but it does get the state heading in the right direction.

The Hancock Amendment, a unique article in the Missouri Constitution, means voters normally see tax increases on the ballot. This is why voters saw Proposition D, which proposed a 10 cent increase, in 2018. But with Kendrick's bill, voters wouldn't have a direct say on making the bill law. The amount raised from the tax increase falls below the threshold established in the amendment. 

Hackman has no issue with not being able to vote on the increase.

"I think it's perfectly fine to keep it off the ballot, you know, just let them take care of it. Let them do their thing," said Hackman.