The transportation sales tax, one of the major priorities of this legislative session, has died in the state senate after three of the 34 senators refused to let it come to a vote that would have sent the issue to the statewide ballot.
Sponsor Mike Kehoe has withdrawn his motion for approval at the start of this last day of the legislative session. Senate President Pro tem Tom Dempsey says the bill passed the senate without problem in March and the three objecting Senators never voiced concerns then, but waited until the last hours to block the issue when it came back to the Senate with minor House changes.
Tuesday night’s filibuster was led by Senators Ed Emery of Lamar, Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, and John Lamping of St. Louis.
Lamping led the effort suggesting supporters of the tax run a statewide petition campaign if they want a statewide vote. Kehoe says that position sidesteps history and the legislature’s responsibility. He points to a University of Missouri study showing 80% of all constitutional amendments put before voters since 1910, when initiative and referendum were approved, have originated with the legislature.
He says opposition from the three Senators means that Missouri’s problems with deteriorating roads and bridges will remain indefinitely.