JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The state of Missouri will see its first gas tax increase in nearly 25 years later this year.
After a lengthy debate in the House Tuesday night, members voted to increase the tax by 2.5 cents per gallon annually over five years, starting later this year. Currently, Missouri has the third-lowest gas tax, 17-cents, in the country, behind Alaska and Hawaii. By 2025, the gas tax would be 29.5 cents.
The legislation comes with a 100 percent rebate for Missourians, as long as they keep their receipts for an entire year. Drivers would apply for the rebate once a year.
“On that receipt, you’ll have all the information you need to fill out that rebate,” the House sponsor Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus, said.
Senate Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, was the driver behind the legislation. He said the increase is expected to bring in more than $500 million a year once fully in place and would go towards roads and bridges.
A majority of the four-hour discussion was on an amendment offered by Rep. Jason Chipman, R-Steelville to take this issue to the voters.
“I don’t think we should be adding this nonsense on top of no cents,” Chipman said. “I’m not going to vote for higher taxes.”
His amendment led to hours of discussion and debate from members on both sides of the aisle.
“We want this gas tax so bad, then it should go to the vote of the people,” Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka said. “This is why people hate government because we come in here then we raise their damn taxes, and we don’t give it to the vote of the people.”
Other members said if Missourians don’t like the tax, they can use the rebate to get their money back.
“We need to raise your taxes for this purpose, the money will be well spent and all of us will benefit greatly from that,” Rep. Steve Butz, D-St. Louis said.
The last time Missouri raised its gas tax was in 1996.
“The potholes on I-70 are embarrassing and they are once again unsafe,” Rep. Brenda Shields, R-Buchanan County. “I happen to think if I swerve to the right or the left, I’m going to catch the pothole that’s between the edge of the road and the shoulder or the one that’s running down the middle of the lane.”
Besides the tax hike, the legislation also includes an increase in annual fees for electric vehicles but raising it 20 percent over a five-year period.
Before the amendment was put to a vote, Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Republic, said he was told if he voted for the amendment, the Senate would “kill” his Second Amendment Preservation Act.
The amendment failed with a vote of 48-102 with members from both sides of the aisle voting it down. The overall bill passed the Senate with a 104-52 vote, sending it to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. The tax would go into effect starting October 1.
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