Our state senator, Dave Schatz, Sullivan, isn’t afraid to put his name on a proposed tax increase. Many state senators and members of the House are too timid to propose and promote any tax hike because they don’t want to hurt their re-election chances. It’s the “me first” fever that persists in the Missouri General Assembly.
Dave Schatz is not among the “me first” legislators. He has introduced a bill to be considered in the 2018 session that would increase the state tax on gasoline by 10 cents. Even though Sen. Schatz faces a re-election run in 2018, as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and recognizing the need to maintain our highways and bridges, to add to them where needed, he has proposed the tax hike from the present 17 cents a gallon to 27 cents a gallon. Missouri has one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the country.
The General Assembly can raise the gasoline tax by 2 cents without voter approval. Beyond that, it must be approved by voters. A 10-cent hike would generate about $400 million a year, with an estimated 40 percent of that paid by non-Missouri residents traveling through our state.
Missouri has the seventh-largest transportation system in the country. Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is underfunded and one of our greatest assets. Our transportation system is going downhill fast. Added funding would put the brakes on that downhill slide.