To The Herald-Whig:
On Aug. 5, Missourians have the opportunity to vote on a historic transportation funding proposal that can positively affect all Missourians.
Amendment 7 will fund statewide transportation improvements through a 0.75 percent sales tax increase.
Opponents argue sales taxes are regressive without acknowledging Amendment 7 would not apply to groceries, prescription drugs, utilities and gasoline. They argue that gas tax, last increased in 1996, should be raised so highway users bear the full costs of improvements. To match the revenue generated by this proposal, Missouri residents, who have historically rejected gas tax increases, would have to approve an 18-cent per gallon gas tax increase. Low-income drivers -- in older gas guzzlers -- would suffer more from a gas tax increase than Amendment 7. Opponents also want trucks to pay more.
Almost everything we use in our daily lives is delivered by truck. Groceries, prescription drugs, gasoline, electronics or any other multitude of consumer goods -- most are delivered by truck, and cost increases from a gas tax would flow to consumers without the protections Amendment 7 provides.
Finally, because of regulations to increase fuel efficiency, more alternative-fuel vehicles and inflation, gas tax revenue is an increasingly unstable revenue source. It would be shortsighted and foolish to present voters with a transportation funding solution that will have declining revenue form the very beginning of its passage.
After careful consideration of funding alternatives and statewide input used to develop this proposal, I hope voters will join me in saying yes on Amendment 7.