The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

January 24, 2013

1-cent sales tax proposed for Missouri highways

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission has proposed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure.

As designed, the tax would be administered over the next decade and would aim to raise a projected $7.9 billion. The tax would not be applied to medicine, groceries or gasoline, the commission said.

The plan would dedicate $1 billion to improving Interstate 70, which runs across mid-Missouri, from Kansas City through St. Louis, while splitting $5.15 billion in different regions in the state — including more than $768 million for Southwest Missouri, according to the commission’s report.

The proposal was presented Thursday at the Missouri Conference on Transportation in Jefferson City by Rudy Farber, a Neosho banker who is chairman of the Highways and Transportation Commission.

“It would create jobs, make roads safer, reduce commuter congestion, stimulate economic activity and create a more competitive Missouri,” he said.

The conference was put on by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is offering general support to proposals that would invest in the state’s infrastructure.

That support may prove crucial as advocates seek backing from legislative Republicans, many of whom campaigned on the promise that they would not vote to raise taxes. Under the Missouri Constitution, any proposal to increase taxes has to be put before a vote of the people. The highway commission called on the General Assembly to pass legislation to at least allow voters to consider the proposal.

“What we are asking the Legislature to do is to allow the citizens of Missouri to vote on whether they wish to tax themselves on transportation,” Farber said.

Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. David Schatz, R-Sullivan, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, both appeared at the news conference, and neither spoke against the proposal.

The commission concluded that despite Missouri’s comparatively low gas tax, an increase in sales tax is simply a more effective way to raise revenue as automobiles continue to become more fuel-efficient.

Earlier this week, House Speaker Tim Jones began a public push with Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, and Rep. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, to pass a bonding proposal through the General Assembly to fund infrastructure improvements.

The proposal — which is being carried in the Senate by Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia — focuses more on “vertical infrastructure,” Kehoe said. It would create a dedicated fund to improve and build new structures for state universities, hospitals and even the Capitol building in Jefferson City.


Gov. Jay Nixon has not yet weighed in on specific transportation funding proposals, but the topic could emerge Monday when he delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r071014newbiz5.jpg Study examines costs of starting businesses in area towns

    When Firehouse Pottery opened in Joplin this spring, it was just one of the hundreds of new businesses that launch in the Four-State Area each year. Charity Hawkins, a Joplin native, said she and her husband “wanted to do something that would be great” for their hometown and decided to open a business that catered to both youths and adults. But starting a new business is a high-risk gamble.

    July 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • 070114 St Mary's cross 3.jpg Crucifix returns after three-year absence

    The original crucifix at St. Mary’s Catholic Church has come home. It had hung behind the altar since 1968, until the 2011 tornado destroyed the church and nearly everything in it, along with the nearby rectory, school, parish center and more.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin High School construction ‘fast, furious’ in homestretch

    Will Joplin High School be ready for classes next month? It’s a question that is being asked of Superintendent C.J. Huff almost daily now, and he said Friday that the project is still tracking for an Aug. 25 opening. “I’m over there almost every day, and the transformation is remarkable,” he said.

    July 11, 2014

  • Local libraries target early childhood literacy with state program

    Local libraries are reporting great success so far this summer with the Racing to Read program, an early childhood literacy initiative from the state. The program, established by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, is designed to help strengthen and expand the quality and availability of library services to address early literacy needs in Missouri.

    July 11, 2014

  • 071314stmarysmove.jpg More than 100 volunteers turn out to move school to its new permanent home

    Staff and students of St. Mary’s Elementary School have been through a lot of changes together since their old school at 505 W. 25th St. was destroyed in the 2011 Joplin tornado. Second-grade teacher Bette Schoeberl said the temporary quarters were cramped and that it was sometimes hard to move around. On Saturday, Schoeberl and other staff members moved into their new school building.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071114 Mustang1_72.jpg Mustangs roll into Joplin for Mother Road Weekend

    Amanda Massey, of Joplin, gasped when she saw the 1968 fastback Mustang. “This is gorgeous — simply gorgeous,’’ she said. “I have always wanted an old Mustang.’’ With family members in tow, Massey had an opportunity Friday to examine a herd of wild and colorful Mustangs that muscled its way onto Main Street in downtown Joplin for the Mustang Mother Road Weekend.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Free Agency-LeBron.jpg LeBron James says he’s returning to Cavaliers

    LeBron James is going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Four State Farm Show gearing for 40th year

    The annual Four State Farm Show, which brings thousands of farmers and ranchers to the area, has grown into a mall of agriculture over the past 40 years.

    July 11, 2014

  • LeBrons Desision Cleveland.jpg LeBron James returns to Cavs: ’I’m coming home’

    If LeBron James was going to win another NBA title, heal broken hearts and continue building his legacy, he knew there was only one place to go. To Ohio. Home.

    July 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • Carver Day activities planned at monument

    Nearly 1,000 people will descend on George Washington Carver National Monument Saturday for the 71st annual Carver Day ceremony.

    July 11, 2014