A southwest Missouri lawmaker who’s leaving Jefferson City because of term limits says he’s “shocked” that voters rejected a ten-cent gasoline tax increase last Tuesday.

State Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, speaks on the Missouri House floor on March 8, 2017 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

State Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, has a lot of truckers in his district.

“Even in my district down in southwest Missouri I thought it was going to pass, but it failed in Jasper County,” Davis says.

About 24,000 Jasper County residents voted “no” on Proposition D on Tuesday, while about 15,000 voters supported it. Statewide, Proposition D failed by about 173,000 votes.

Missouri’s 17-cent gasoline tax has remained the same since 1996. Proposition D supporters say that because of inflation, Missouri’s 17-cent gasoline tax is worth just seven cents of the value it had 22 years ago.

While he’s shocked at the vote, Representative Davis believes voters looked at Proposition D as a tax increase.

“And when they’re starting to reap the rewards of the Trump (federal) tax cuts and the tax cut that the Missouri Legislature provided, I think most people just didn’t feel like they were ready to give any money back,” says Davis.

Davis predicts lawmakers will tackle the transportation issue again in January. He tells Missourinet the Legislature will have to make a decision about additional funding for road repairs for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

“Because the last thing we want to do is have to do a lot of work after an accident happens and a bridge collapses etc.,” Davis says. “So, I think the Legislature this next year is going to do some good things for transportation in Missouri.”

One possibility is a proposal that House Speaker-designee Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, pushed this year. His bill would have indexed vehicle user fees to the cost of inflation.

Haahr testified in March that his plan to index those fees would generate about $174 million annually for the state’s road fund.

Haahr also testified that Missouri’s current vehicle license and registration fees haven’t changed in more than 30 years.

Davis, who served eight years in the House, was elected Tuesday as the Jasper County clerk. He’ll take office in the new position in January.


Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, which was recorded on November 7, 2018 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City. Representative Davis spoke to Brian, during a break while Davis was giving a tour to grade school students:

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