Missouri’s governor has been barnstorming across the state, campaigning for a November ballot measure that would increase the state gasoline tax. Governor Mike Parson has traveled to Springfield, Hannibal, St. Joseph, Sedalia and other towns during the past two weeks, campaigning for Proposition D. The Bolivar Republican says Missouri can’t keep kicking the can down the road.
“We haven’t done anything for our transportation system for over two decades, for over 20 years,” Parson says. “And we’ve added 6,000 miles of new highway systems since that time.”
Missouri’s gasoline tax has remained at 17-cents a gallon since 1996. Proposition D supporters say that because of inflation, the gasoline tax is worth just seven cents of the value it had 22 years ago.
During a visit last week to the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) headquarters in Jefferson City, Governor Parson told Missourinet the state’s transportation system is underfunded.
“And you know, I’ve never been out in front of taxes or use fees hardly ever in my career. But this is one that I really think sometimes you just got to step up and do what’s right for Missouri,” says Parson.
If Proposition D is approved, the state’s gasoline tax would be increased by ten cents a gallon. It would be phased in over four years, at 2.5 cents annually.
The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Pork Producers Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau are among the commodity groups backing Proposition D.
Parson says agriculture and transportation are linked.
“When you think of all the products in this state and it’s the number one industry, whether it be pork, whether it be beef, whether it be rowcroppers, of all the transportation that’s involved in that, it’s a huge deal,” Parson says.
Cattle producer Patty Wood in west-central Missouri’s Pettis County says Proposition D “means getting from farm to market without delay,” and says Missouri must invest in transportation.
Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, a Republican, who also supports the measure, told the Columbia Chamber of Commerce last week that there is no organized opposition to Proposition D.
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