Farm Bureau supports legislators' placing one-cent transportation tax on the ballot
In anticipation of the Missouri Senate considering this week a constitutional amendment for a one-cent transportation sales tax, Missouri Farm Bureau sent a letter to the Senate sponsor indicating the organization’s support for passage of a transportation funding package requiring voter approval.
Missouri Farm Bureau has a long history supporting road and bridge funding going back to the “get Missouri out of the mud” campaign in the 1920s. However, Farm Bureau was critical of MoDOT and the Highway Commission when the distribution of highway funding was changed after the last fuel tax increase in 1992.
“Good roads and bridges are extremely important to our members and rural Missouri, and Missouri Farm Bureau recognizes adequate funds must be available for the maintenance and improvement of our transportation system,” said Blake Hurst, President of Missouri Farm Bureau. “While we have had our differences in the past with MoDOT and the Commission, we believe they are working to correct past mistakes and provide a fair distribution of transportation funds throughout the state.”
“Ultimately the voters will decide if they are supportive of a tax increase for transportation, and Missouri Farm Bureau believes the Missouri General Assembly should give voters that opportunity. Legislatively, we will be advocating a proposal that is fair and holds MoDOT and the Commission accountable. If passed, our organization will take a final position on the ballot proposal that will also take into account how MoDOT plans to use the new money,” said Hurst.
Hurst’s letter sent to Senator Mike Kehoe, the Senate sponsor of SJR 16, reads as follows:
“The Missouri Farm Bureau State Board of Directors recently voted to support the Missouri General Assembly placing a transportation funding package on the ballot for voters to consider. The Board further expressed belief that the funding package must be fair for rural Missouri and the rest of the state, include a tax increase that is reasonable and contain meaningful accountability requirements of MoDOT and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
“If a transportation funding package is passed this session by the Missouri General Assembly, Missouri Farm Bureau will take a final position on the ballot proposal based upon the criteria stated above and the legitimacy of the subsequently identified major projects and emerging needs for which the new money will be used.
“Current Missouri Farm Bureau member-adopted policy recognizes that Missouri does not have the necessary funds to adequately address our state’s road and bridge needs. Our policy also considers a state sales tax as an approach for funding those needs.
“Given our member-adopted policy and the action taken by our Board of Directors, we are in support of SJR 16 as it now stands.
“We look forward to working with you and other legislators as you continue to consider this constitutional amendment. Please feel free to share copies of this letter with your colleagues as you deem appropriate.”
Missouri Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization with over 115,000 members.