Whether you are voting for a local county office or the next president, every election is an opportunity to make your voice heard. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, millions of Missourians will once again head to their local polling stations to exercise their fundamental right to vote. If you are a registered voter, I encourage you to cast your ballot and help shape the future of our great state.
In addition to voting for individual candidates, you will also be asked to consider several important issues that can have a big impact on Missourians. The secretary of state has certified the following six measures to appear on the 2016 general election ballot.
Shall Missouri continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 10 years?
The measure continues and does not increase the existing sales and use tax of one-tenth of one percent for 10 years. The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system.
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
- establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office;
- prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions;
- require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions; and
- provide a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment?
It is estimated this proposal will increase state government costs by at least $118,000 annually and have an unknown change in costs for local governmental entities. Any potential impact to revenues for state and local governmental entities is unknown.
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
- increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20;
- create a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes, which fee shall increase annually; and
- deposit funds generated by these taxes and fees into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund?
When cigarette tax increases are fully implemented, estimated additional revenue to state government is $263 million to $374 million annually, with limited estimated implementation costs. The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown.
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of Jan. 1, 2015?
Potential costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown, but could be significant. The proposal’s passage would impact governmental entity’s ability to revise their tax structures. State and local governments expect no savings from this proposal.
Shall the Constitution of Missouri be amended to state that voters may be required by law, which may be subject to exception, to verify one’s identity, citizenship, and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification?
The proposed amendment will result in no costs or savings because any potential costs would be due to the enactment of a general law allowed by this proposal. If such a general law is enacted, the potential costs to state and local governments is unknown, but could exceed $2.1 million annually.
Shall Missouri law be amended to:
- increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20;
- increase the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price;
- use funds generated by these taxes exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects; and
- repeal these taxes if a measure to increase any tax or fee on cigarettes or other tobacco products is certified to appear on any local or statewide ballot?
State government revenue will increase by approximately $95 million to $103 million annually when cigarette and tobacco tax increases are fully implemented, with the new revenue earmarked for transportation infrastructure. Local government revenues could decrease approximately $3 million annually due to decreased cigarette and tobacco sales.
For more information about the upcoming election, including where and how to vote and what you will need to bring, visit the secretary of state’s website at www.sos.mo.gov. I also encourage you to contact your local county clerk, who is your local election authority, with any questions you may have.
As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 866-277-0882 (toll-free) or (573) 751-2272, or by fax at (573) 526-7381.
Senator David Pearce serves Caldwell, Carroll, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ray and Saline counties in the 21st State Senatorial District.