State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, said he is still thinking about whether he will vote for a bill that would allow voters to decide whether they wanted to impose an additional sales tax on themselves to fund transportation projects.
He said he knows the Missouri Department of Transportation needs more funding and that roads and bridges are a core function of state government.
However, he said he does not know if an additional sales tax is the best way to fund those projects.
Instead, more fiscal discipline may be needed in the state with funding directed toward core functions of government, he said.
Curtman voted against the first version of the transportation sales tax bill this year. That version would have allowed voters to decide whether they wanted to impose a 1-cent transportation sales on themselves for 10 years, which would have generated estimated revenue of about $8 billion over the decade.
The new version from the Senate would bring the sales tax down to three-quarters of a cent.
Recently, Curtman said he was on the radio and indicated that he may vote for the transportation sales tax bill to let voters decide if they want to tax themselves to improve infrastructure. Soon after getting off the radio, he said he got 25 to 30 phone calls from people urging that he vote against it.
While the new version of the bill is better he must still decide whether he can support it given the comments he has heard from constituents.
Those who oppose the bill just don’t want any more taxes, Curtman noted. He said he was not elected to go against the will of the people, especially on tax issues.
Likewise, he questioned why the Legislature would be looking to cut income taxes on one hand and then raise sales taxes on the other.
State Reps. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, and Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, supported the 1-cent measure in the House.
State Sen. Brian Nieves opposed the three-quarter cent measure in the Senate.