Missouri’s five candidates for governor were asked how they would fund transportation in a forum Sunday during the Missouri Farm Bureau’s annual meeting.
Missouri’s Republican candidates all told the crowd at the Missouri Farm Bureau’s annual meeting they oppose a tax increase to fund transportation.
Catherine Hanaway, Eric Greitens, and John Brunner, all said Missouri must first make sure it is spending responsibly the transportation dollars it has. Peter Kinder and Greitens said they don’t believe Missourians don’t trust the state government to spend tax dollars responsibly enough to support a tax increase.
The lone Democrat in the race, Chris Koster, noted skepticism about the transportation funding proposals in the legislature, most of which would raise the gas tax.
“I don’t think anything is likely to pass in 2016. I don’t think a majority of the House is going to vote for a gas tax increase this year,” said Koster, who added he expects to be considering transportation funding options after being sworn in, if elected governor.
Hanaway proposed making sure gas tax revenue only goes to transportation.
“Right now we’re funding the Highway Patrol out of the gas tax. Let’s move them to General Revenue. That frees up $200-million a year for highways,” said Hanaway.
Kinder said before a new funding source can be enacted the state government must earn back the trust of the citizens.
He said that can be accomplished, “By being tight-fisted in office – by following the example that I’ve set,” said Kinder, referring to his office returning part of the money its been appropriated each year for 11 years.
Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens said he would overhaul how Missouri’s budget is crafted.
“When I’m governor, we’re going to bring in zero-based budgeting … you start with your priorities and then you build your budget based on those priorities,” said Greitens.
Brunner said transportation infrastructure would benefit from building Missouri enterprise.
“Let’s make Missouri a better place and as those revenues increase we can work with the legislature to find a lockbox to put 10-percent, or 15-percent, or whatever the appropriate number is into the lock box of the increase in revenues that come from a state that’s starting to turn around,” said Brunner.