Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 51, which would have increased fees on drivers’ licenses and registering a motor vehicle. It also would have imposed a new $2 fee on residents of metro St. Louis and people in Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and Jefferson counties for electronically verifying the status of residents’ vehicle emissions inspections.
The governor said the legislation “goes against our longstanding Missouri values of fiscal discipline, low taxes and a government that lives within its means.” It was estimated that the bill would have produced $22 million annually.
The bill would have raised the cost of registering a motor vehicle by $1.50 a year and increased the fee for obtaining a typical driver’s license by $5. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, said the legislation was needed because fees for licenses have remained unchanged for a decade and some license office companies are struggling to turn a profit, especially in rural Missouri.
This is one of those bills that there are arguing points on both sides of the issue. If some of the new revenue would have been earmarked for roads and bridges, the pro arguments would have been made stronger although $22 million a year isn’t going to solve much of the revenue problem to address needs.
This issue does bring to light as to the need for a plan for raising money for roads and bridges. The Legislature killed a measure that would have permitted Missouri residents to vote on a new 1-cent sales tax for roads and bridges. The governor didn’t like that proposal either, according to reports. Raising the gasoline tax and increasing fees have been tossed into the idea ring.
More money for transportation purposes is needed. The lawmakers had the sales tax plan before them and punted. That brings us to the main question: What is the governor’s plan to raise more revenue for roads and bridges?