Lewis Diuguid

Missouri sales tax for roads to be costly for consumers

Road construction constriction points like this area along I-70 westbound near the intersection of I-435 in Wyandotte County are a cause for concern when it comes to driver safety. A fatal accident near St. Louis and recent accidents in the Kansas City area within the last week occured in lane-reduced construction areas. CHRIS OCHSNER/The Kansas City Star
Road construction constriction points like this area along I-70 westbound near the intersection of I-435 in Wyandotte County are a cause for concern when it comes to driver safety. A fatal accident near St. Louis and recent accidents in the Kansas City area within the last week occured in lane-reduced construction areas. CHRIS OCHSNER/The Kansas City Star

Missouri lawmakers are pushing a sales tax increase for transportation. That’s good for the roads but not so swell for people’s wallets.

The House passed a one-cent increase; the Senate favors a three-quarter-cent sales tax. The Senate bill would generate $534 million annually in its 10-year lifespan, The Kansas City Star reports. The House version would pump $720 million into the infrastructure of the state.

The sales tax is needed because revenue from the tax on fuel continues to drop as people now drive more fuel efficient vehicles. But as people save in one respect, they end up paying somewhere else.

A state sales tax for road improvements, combined with a possible one-cent sales tax increase in parts of Kansas City for an expansion of the streetcar system, would push the sales tax area residents would have to pay over 10 cents on every dollar they spend. If a larger light-rail system proposed by Jackson County were to pass, the sales tax would be 11 cents.

Such a tax is regressive, hurting low-, no- and fixed-income people the most. It also may make some people think twice about spending any money if the sales tax jumps to such a high level.

Or in the Kansas City area, they may simply go to Kansas to buy what they want.

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