A freshman state senator who serves on a transportation task force says Missourians are paying enough in taxes.
State Sen. Bill Eigel, R-St. Charles, serves on Missouri’s 21st Century Transportation System task force. The task force is working to ensure that the state’s transportation system continues to serve citizens’ needs in future years.
Eigel says Missouri has a record-setting $27 billion state operating budget.
“Our incomes are taxed, our purchases our taxed, our property is taxed, our deaths are taxed, everything is taxed and I think there is a lot of frustration out there from citizens who are tired of government officials solving problems simply by asking the taxpayer for more money,” Eigel says.
Eigel, who was elected in November, says the responsibilities that have been given to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) are “far greater” than what should be placed upon Missouri.
“So when we have 34,000 miles that we’re trying to manage at the state level and that makes us the seventh or sixth-largest network in the entire country, putting us up there with the likes of California and Texas, then maybe we have to ask ourselves is this the right network that we need,” says Eigel.
Eigel says good infrastructure is a responsibility of government.
Missouri’s fuel tax hasn’t been increased in 21 years, and the state ranks 47th in the nation in revenue per mile.
House Transportation Committee chairman Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, tells Missourinet a gasoline tax increase must be “on the table.”
Missouri’s state operating budget has grown from about $22 billion in 2009 to about $27 billion in 2017. Eigel tells Missourinet that the increase is primarily from Medicaid and tax credits.
“You know Missouri is one of the largest, is at the top of many rankings in the nation as far as using tax credit and economic, or what I call corporate welfare programs,” Eigel says.
The task force held its first meeting on June 28 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.
Their next meeting will take place on July 26 at 1 p.m. at Kansas City’s Union Station. Future meetings will also take place in Springfield, Kirksville, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and Columbia.
The task force will submit a report and recommendations to the Legislature by January 1.