You might be deciding whether your taxes should go up to pay for more veterans homes. The House has given tentative approval to increasing the sales tax by one-eighth of a cent to pay for services to the state’s veterans. That would be the same tax rate that raised $103 million for the Conservation Commission during the last fiscal year.
Rep. Jim Avery (R-Crestwood), a veteran of the war in Iraq, has told the sponsor he’s not sure he can support the measure, not because he’s against veterans, but because he’s against a tax increase.
The sponsor, Rep. Barney Fisher (R-Richards), concedes it is a tax increase, though he tries to ease the pain by pointing out that if the legislature approves HJR 71 it will go to a vote of the people.
Fisher and other supporters argue that the Veterans Commission needs the money to build six new veterans homes in the state as well as six to 12 centers to provide services for veterans. Money could also be used for residential care, in-home care, hospice and transportation; all needs uncovered by a special Veterans Committee that held hearings during the interim.
It’s estimated that up to 1,000 Missouri veterans are waiting for space to open in the state’s seven veterans homes.