Summer is coming, and Missourians are hitting the open road, which, after a brutal winter, has taken quite a beating. The Missouri Department of Transportation is looking into making Missouri roads safer, not just by filling in potholes but also widening shoulders on rural roads and expanding Interstate 70 from two lanes to three. That sounds expensive, but the Missouri state legislature has a plan for drumming up close to $800 million a year over the next ten years for Department of Transportation projects – a one percent increase in sales and use tax.
A potential statewide sales tax to improve road conditions gained new life recently, but not everyone thinks the initiative is a good idea.
The Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW) is opposed to an initiative petition filed by Missourians for Safer Roads and New Jobs that would establish a one-cent sales and use tax. The proposed tax could raise $8 billion to fund road improvements throughout Missouri. MASW believes the tax is regressive and would affect lower-wage citizens more than their higher-wage counterparts.
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and some Missouri social welfare advocates are concerned about the impact of the cut on rural Missourians. SNAP, formerly food stamps, was already expected to receive a fund cut this November.
Roughly 200 people braved the heat and humidity outside Missouri’s Capitol building today (Wednesday) to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Among those speaking at the event was former St. Louis lawmaker Jeanette Mott Oxford, who now heads the Missouri Association for Social Welfare. She told the crowd she believes King’s vision for America went beyond racial equality: