On Nov. 6, Missourians will head to the polls to cast their votes for numerous candidates and important issues, including four proposed amendments to the Missouri Constitution. In this legislative column, we will discuss two of the ballot measures, which will appear on the ballot in the upcoming general election.
Below you will find a description of Proposition B and Proposition D, two proposed ballot measures, including each measure’s official title, fiscal note, fair ballot language and any potential impact it may have on your taxes. For more information about the upcoming election, including where and how to vote, please visit the secretary of state’s website at www.sos.mo.gov.
Do you want to amend Missouri law to:
- Increase the state minimum wage to $8.60 per hour with an 85 cents per hour increase each year until 2023, when the state minimum wage would be $12.00 per hour;
- Exempt government employers from the above increase; and
- Increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage?
State and local governments estimate no direct costs or savings from the proposal, but operating costs could increase by an unknown annual amount that could be significant. State and local government tax revenue could change by an unknown annual amount ranging from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase depending on business decisions.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri statutes to increase the state minimum wage rate as follows:
- $8.60 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2019;
- $9.45 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2020;
- $10.30 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2021;
- $11.15 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2022; and
- $12.00 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2023.
The amendment will exempt government employers from the above increases, and will increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage.
A “no” vote will not amend Missouri law to make these changes to the state minimum wage law.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.
I, personally see this proposition as a job killer for our state. The increase in wages is funded by taxpayers because the cost of services will go up to cover it and existing jobs will decrease because of the costs incurred.
The increase to taxpayers is a result of an initiative petition that mandates how an independent business must operate or face fines. These restrictions ultimately mean some small and start-up businesses may be forced to close, and those after school and part-time jobs, which so many people depend on, could become a thing of the past.
Shall Missouri law be amended to fund:
- Missouri state law enforcement by increasing the motor fuel tax by two and one half cents per gallon annually for four years beginning July 1, 2019;
- Exempt Special Olympic, Paralympic and Olympic prizes from state taxes; and
- Establish the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund?
If passed, this measure will generate at least $288 million annually for the State Road Fund to provide funding for Missouri state law enforcement and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri statutes to fund the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s enforcement and administration of motor vehicle laws and traffic regulations. The source of the funding will be revenue from an increased state tax on motor fuel (including gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and blended fuel). The current state motor fuel tax rate is 17 cents per gallon. The amendment will increase the rate as follows:
- 5 cents per gallon beginning July 1, 2019;
- 22 cents per gallon beginning July 1, 2020;
- 5 cents per gallon beginning July 1, 2021; and
- 27 cents per gallon beginning July 1, 2022.
The amendment will also increase the tax on alternative fuels used for motor vehicles (including compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas and propane gas). The amendment will increase the rate from 17 cents to 27 cents per unit equivalent to a gallon of gasoline or diesel beginning Jan. 1, 2026.
The amendment will require the state auditor to audit the state’s use of the revenue generated by these taxes every two years.
Additionally, the amendment will allow a state income tax deduction for the value of any prize or award won in the Olympics, Paralympics or Special Olympics and it will create an “Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund,” which will be dedicated to financing road improvement projects in the state.
A “no” vote will not amend Missouri statutes to increase the motor fuel tax, exempt certain prizes from state taxes or establish the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund.
If passed, this measure will increase taxes on motor fuel and alternative fuels for motor vehicles.
It is no secret that for years the Legislature has been looking for ways to address our state’s deteriorating roadways and bridges. The current tax rate of 17 cents was established in 1996 (of that 17 cents, cities receive 10 cents; counties receive 15 cents), that 17 cents equals only 7 cents of spending power now. Many transportation and safety decisions are made at the local level, where leaders are closest to the people. Proposition D will raise local government transportation revenue for Missouri’s counties and cities and help our local governments tackle the more than 2,100 bridges in poor condition found in Missouri.
Missouri ranks 49th out of 50 states – nearly last – in gas tax, ahead of only Alaska. An increase in gas tax would allow the state to make improvements to the roads and highways, including adding rumble strips, guard rails and highway dividers. Missouri has the seventh-largest highway system in the country with 33,856 miles — it has more miles of state highways than Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas combined — and the sixth-most number of bridges with 10,403, but ranks just 47th among the states for money available for transportation infrastructure. It is time to address the transportation funding issue that affects each Missourian and every person who travels in or through or state.
As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.