Parson to sign bill to increase gasoline tax for the first time in decades

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JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (AP) – Missouri Governor Mike Parson is expected to sign the state’s first gasoline tax increase in decades on Tuesday.

Long-time transportation finance advocate Parson has scheduled ceremonial bill signing near Kansas City’s John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Memorial Bridge and other infrastructure projects statewide.

The law will gradually increase the gasoline tax from 17 cents per gallon to 29.5 cents over five years, with the ability for buyers to get a refund if they keep track of their receipts.

The first 2.5-cent increase is expected to take effect in October, bringing the gasoline tax to 19.5 cents.

The money will be used for roads and bridges in Missouri.

When fully implemented, the gas tax hike could generate more than $ 500 million a year for state, county and city roads. But it’s unclear how many of those governments will be able to keep after some people ask for refunds.

The Missouri Department of Transportation estimated that the state faces an annual funding gap of $ 745 million for roads and bridges.

The Missouri chapter of a conservative rights group has launched an effort to put the gas tax hike to a public vote just days after lawmakers passed it.

If Americans for Prosperity-Missouri collects enough voter signatures, the law will pass voters next year.

The tax increases are largely unpopular among Missouri voters. Since voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1996 requiring that all tax increases above a certain amount be put to a statewide vote, no general tax increase has been passed.

Most recently, voters in 2018 rejected a 10-cent-per-gallon tax hike that the Legislature wrote on the ballot.

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