They say that timing is everything, Legislators in Missouri seem to have forgotten this. Coinciding with the cyber attack against the Colonial Pipeline on the east coast and gas price hikes since the beginning of the Biden-Harris regime, they’ve decided to increase Taxes on Gas…. Yikes. But there is a catch, the bill has a refund that allows state residents to “opt out” by filing for a full refund at the end of the year. So really this tax has rather limited targets: low income residents and out-of-state drivers.
According to ABC17 News,
“The GOP-led House voted Tuesday 104-52 to raise Missouri’s 17-cent gas tax by 2.5 cents a year until it hits 29.5 cents per gallon in 2025.”
KansasCity.com reports that Missouri’s was the second lowest fuel tax in the nation and that the new tax funds will raise up to $514 million per year by 2027 for badly needed repairs by MoDOT and local governments.
“If you do not want to invest in our roads and bridges, you do not want to pay those extra taxes, then you have the option of getting that rebate and taking your money back,” said House Transportation Chair Becky Ruth, a Festus Republican. “I don’t know of any other tax that you can get 100% of your money back.”
Conservatives Not Acting Like Conservatives
The more conservative members of the Missouri legislature (the ones who remembered they were Republicans) accused the GOP in favor of the tax hike of siding with the Democrat minority (accurately). Many of the were highly critical of raising of all things: a sales tax which is typically borne by people with lower incomes and offering a refund that statistically when offered in other states, typically doesn’t get requested. A similar bill in South Carolina only saw 4% of the eligible amount get claimed by only 79k people out of an adult population of over 3 million.
One Republican Rep. Cheri Toalson Reich, took a stand against her party leaders on principle,
“We’re a Republican supermajority, Why don’t we act like it?”
Rep. Jason Chipman almost derailed the whole bill with an amendment to put the matter on the 2022 ballot, but it was overwhelmingly defeated. Finally Rep. Tony Lovasco attempted to split the bill into it’s constituent parts to be considered separately, after squabbling on how to handle the procedural hurdle attempts to stop the bill died down and it was passed over their objections. Thus giving the Republicans of Missouri the dubious distinction of being responsible for the first Gas Tax hike in the Show Me State since 1990. And some of them are proud of that.