Transportation tax reverses footholds for party leaders

Jun 3, 2014

Credit Sam Lin / KBIA file photo

In a strange twist, Republicans are supporting a proposed tax hike that’s drawn fire from Democrats and Gov. Jay Nixon.

Nixon announced his opposition an increase of the state’s sales tax in a statement yesterday, calling the proposal fiscally irresponsible. The proposal, which would increase taxes by 3/4 percent to fund infrastructure improvements, comes after lawmakers passed tax breaks for various businesses and an income tax cut in May.

“On the heels of this headlong rush to provide special breaks and carve-outs for the wealthy and well-connected, members of the General Assembly are now attempting to raise taxes on all Missourians,” Nixon said in a statement. “If this effort is successful, Missouri will have the dubious distinction of being a state that, in a matter of months, cut taxes on lawyers and lobbyists, but hiked taxes on bar soap and baseball gloves.”

However Missouri GOP Executive Director Matt Wills said the Democratic governor’s move wasn’t surprising considering Nixon and his staff played little role in getting the measure on the ballot.

“We continue to see him being disengaged.” He said. “This governor continues to show us he’s not the fiercely independent candidate he campaigned on.”

Outgoing Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, agreed with Nixon’s decision to oppose the proposed tax hike. Kelly says the Republican’s decision to carve out tax loopholes for special interests plus a potential sales tax hike puts too much of the burden on lower income Missourians.

While defending Nixon’s decision, Kelly was non-committal when asked whether or not he’ll vote for the measure.

The proposal will be on the August 5th ballot.