An initiative petition to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow the State to raise sales taxes to fund education and health care has been approved for circulation. Now that the question has been approved, the sponsor of the petition – the Missouri Policy Group – must collect as many as 128,000 signatures from registered voterstargeting six of Missouri’s nine Congressional districts, picking up a number of signatures equal to eight percent of the votes cast in the last Governor’s election from those six districts. Spence Jackson with the Secretary of State’s Office says supporters must move quickly to get the question on the August ballot. The sponsor must have the signatures turned into the Secretary of State’s Office by February 3, 2004, while local election officials who are charged with determining whether the signatures are authentic have must do that by May 3, 2004. Approval of the initiative would not necessarily mean sales taxes would rise. It would, however, allow the Revenue Director to raise sales taxes during a fiscal emergency. The range of sales tax generated would be dependent on the level of the fiscal emergency.
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