Continuing on with the theme of my last few posts, I want to share my thoughts concerning “Prop D”, which is ten cent per gallon gas tax increase on all Missouri fuel. If Prop D is passed into law, it will be the largest tax increase in Missouri history.
The way this will work is simple. If Prop D is passed, our motor fuel tax will go up two-and-a-half cents per gallon for four consecutive years, ending in 2022, raising our motor fuel tax from seventeen cents per gallon to twenty-seven cents. All other fuels, including propane and natural gas, will go up ten cents per gallon all at once in 2022.
Just as this legislation is simple, the impact on taxpayers will be as well. When Prop D is fully phased in, it will cost taxpayers an extra dollar for every ten gallons of gas they purchase. So, if you are a fairly light driver, this will cost you around fifty dollars per year. If you drive a lot, it will be more, and possible much for those who drive as a part of their occupation.
My philosophy is always to keep taxes as low as possible. I believe excessive taxation has a negative impact of economic growth, a belief that has been verified by every reputable economic study. This does not mean, however, that I am against all taxes. Some taxation is necessary to fund core functions of government, and I don’t believe anyone would disagree with the notion that maintaining our roads is a necessary function of government.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is, again, simple. Do we need the revenue that we would receive from a ten cent per gallon gas tax increase? Do we need the extra three hundred million dollars that it would generate?
I believe the answer to that question is a resounding “NO”.
In 2018, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will receive just over 2.2 billion dollars. These funds come from a variety of places, from the gas tax, to a sales tax on every automobile sold in Missouri, to almost one billion dollars in Federal funds. This would be more than enough money if we spend it all on roads, but we don’t.
- $342 million goes to the Highway Patrol (Which is a Constitutional obligation)
- $246 million goes to local governments.
- $413 million is spent of debt from previous years.
- $391 million is spent of various discretionary programs
These numbers add to up just under $1.4 billion dollars, which is over half of MoDOT’s budget.
I truly believe if the state needs more funding for our core functions then we are well within our rights to ask the people of Missouri to pay more taxes. But when I see more than half of our transportation budget is not going to roads I cannot in good conscience ask the hard working people of Missouri to give any more of their hard-earned money than they already do.
It is for this reason that I, a life-long fiscal conservative, will be voting “NO” on Prop D, and would encourage all of you to do the same.