CHICAGO - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has announced his opposition to a ballot measure asking voters to approve a three-fourth cent sale tax hike to fund transportation projects.
Last month Nixon set the referendum, sent to the ballot by lawmakers during their recently ended 2014 session, for Aug. 5. Supporters had hoped he would place the question on the November general election ballot.
"We can all agree on the need for a robust discussion about Missouri's long-term transportation infrastructure needs," Nixon said in a statement. "However, any proposal to change how we fund transportation must be considered in the context of the overall tax policy of our state and funding for other priorities like education."
Nixon lumped the tax measure into a series of measures approved by the Legislature that he believes favor businesses and the more affluent while hurting general taxpayers. Nixon is a Democrat and Republicans control the Legislature.
"The burden of this $6.1 billion sales tax increase would fall disproportionately on Missouri's working families and seniors," he said. "This tax hike is neither a fair nor fiscally responsible solution to our transportation infrastructure needs and it does not have my support."
House Joint Resolution No. 68 proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to enact an additional sales tax to fund infrastructure projects including highways and roads.
If voters approve the sales tax hike, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015 and is projected to generate more than $500 million annually for roads, bridges, railroads, ports, airports and other transportation projects. It would remain in place for 10 years and could be extended with another vote. The proposal earmarks 90% of the new revenue for state projects and 10% for local ones.
If approved, the sales tax would expand the current revenue sources now used to fund transportation projects. The state's road bonds are secured by the department's primary sources of revenues including state motor fuel taxes, sales taxes on motor vehicles, and motor license fees.