Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday he won’t support a proposed three-fourths-cent sales tax increase to pay for improving the state’s transportation infrastructure.
The increase — if approved by voters in August — would provide more than $5 billion over 10 years for the state’s transportation needs.
But Nixon said the tax hike would be unfair.
“The burden of this … sales tax increase would fall disproportionately on Missouri’s working families and seniors,” he 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.”
Representatives of organizations supporting the increase could not be reached for comment Monday.
Nixon’s opposition is not a big surprise. The ballot measure was passed by a Republican-dominated legislature, and Nixon is a Democrat.
He put the measure on the August ballot, a move widely seen as an attempt to damage its chances in a low-turnout election. An August election also shortens the time available for a statewide campaign, conceivably hurting its chances at the polls.
At the same time, Nixon’s opposition will cause problems with some Democrats and labor unions. They support the tax increase because of the construction jobs it’s expected to create.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, has said she supports the tax increase.
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