The man who was governor the last time Missouri passed a large bond proposal says lawmakers must focus on identifying needs and how they will be met, if they want to get one passed now.
Kit Bond says when a bond package was passed under his administration, the state was in a tight fiscal situation.
“There was a deficit in the budget and the federal revenue sharing with the states had been cut off, and we badly needed upgrades to our prison system and to comply with the handicap accessibility, so the bond issue was the only way to get it.”
Lawmakers are debating whether to include transportation in a bonding proposal, or to perhaps have a separate bond proposal just for transportation. Bond says it’s not likely a bond proposal could be enough to support transportation.
“I think you’re going to have to have probably some revenue immediately and some revenue to be paying off the transportation part of the bonds, so I think you’re going to need bonds and revenue to support transportation.”
He notes he has advocated for passage of a transportation tax.
“The most direct would be gas tax increase … we’re one of the lowest around … or there are other taxes since there are some automobiles that don’t burn gas that are on the highway … or they have talked about some kind of sales tax, but if we don’t get some additional revenues in pretty soon, I-70’s not only going to be a parking lot it’s going to be a parking lot that looks like a gravel road.”
Bond says while there could be local projects that merit state money, particularly if they have a statewide impact, if the proposal becomes loaded down with local projects it could make it overly complicated for voters.
“I think you have to have it rather straightforward and you can’t put a whole bunch of individual projects or put out a laundry list because if voters don’t understand it they’re not going to be willing to support it. You have to have not only the consent of the voters but the understanding of the voters when you ask them to vote for it.”
Governor Jay Nixon has yet to take a position on a bonding proposal. Bond’s advice to him?
“Do what’s best for the state. I’m sure he will.”