Missouri lawmakers split on new sales tax for transportation

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KPLR) - Smooth sailing on interstate highways is a big plus for tourists and for commerce are both important to our state's good health. But, there is a real split among leaders in Missouri over a proposed three quarters of one percent sales tax hike for roads and transportation.   As a voter, the decision will be up to you.

Missouri is split right down the middle over the question of approving a new sales tax for roads and transportation. Even long time political allies like labor and some democrats find themselves on opposite sides.

"The delegates of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council fully endorsed the proposal for the transportation tax." said Bob Soutier of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council.

"The timing of that doesn`t comport itself to what is best long term for fairness of the state tax code, plus it also leaves out some significant  users of our road system." said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

Constitutional amendment #7 is slated to appear on the August 5th Missouri primary ballot.  if approved, it would increase Missouri`s general sales tax by three quarters of a cent for ten years. The funds, more than half a million dollars a year, would be used first to repair unsafe roads and bridges.

"We think it`s a jobs proposal  We understand it does increase sales taxes at the same time while there are other proposals to reduce taxes.  We may not be in favor of those but certainly the sales tax issue is one where if it can  provide jobs for the people we represent we fully endorse it." said Bob Soutier

Governor Nixon  recognizes the road repair needs, but he wants a balanced tax policy and last minute tax cuts by lawmakers are giving him heartburn.

"While we all  understand we need to have a long range plan, I don`t think  that this measure is that proper  way to fund that." said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

Reporter Betsey Bruce asks, "What would  you do ?  How would you do it?"

Gov. Nixon:  "Right now  what I`m doing is trying to deal with the fact that they`ve blown up my budget."

You can expect to see a lively debate over this proposal in the coming weeks.  One group has already filed a lawsuit in an effort to stop the ballot measure before you get to the polls.

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