The Buzz

TheChat: The push to raise Missouri’s gasoline tax is on

Good morning.

▪ “We’ve had our heads stuck in the sand too long.” — Missouri state Rep. Doug Libla, a Poplar Bluff Republican and the sponsor of a bill to raise the state gasoline tax by six cents a gallon.

Voters would have to approve the increase in November, and that’s why conservatives allowed the bill to go forward. The original increase was to be just 1.5 cents a gallon. “We’ve got to get moving on this,” Libla said.

▪ “This is an urgent follow-up and quick request, so I'll be blunt: We're more than $3,000 short of our critical grassroots fundraising goal.” — Austin Chambers, a staffer for Eric Greitens’ campaign for Missouri governor, in a fundraising appeal Thursday.

Candidates everywhere were scrambling for cash this week as the first-quarter deadline loomed. Most, like Chambers, stressed the urgent nature of the appeal.

▪ “Republicans simply outworked Democrats.” — a statement from the House Republican Campaign Committee following the deadline for candidate filing.

It’s tough to argue with that. Overall, 176 Republicans filed compared to 132 Democrats. In 66 House races, Republicans are unopposed while 30 Democrats are unopposed. (link via

▪ “You’re seeing more challengers coming out early, both on the Democratic side and on the Republican side against incumbent Republicans.” — Patrick Miller, a University of Kansas political science professor, speaking about the number of early challengers to incumbent lawmakers in Topeka.

Dissatisfaction with GOP incumbents and their aggressive agenda appears to be fueling the challengers. More than 60 percent of Kansans expressed dissatisfaction with the Legislature, according to a recent poll.