Letter to the Editor

Gasoline tax games

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Why didn't the gasoline tax pass? The state sponsored initiative to raise gasoline tax failed, and I've heard many politicians and other state officials wonder why. I'm sure there are many reasons, but for me the proposal was disingenuous.

Proposition D sought to channel needed funds for road maintenance through the Highway Patrol. That sends a mixed signal. Did they want to protect the Highway Patrol with a dedicated funding source, or did they want to provide funds to maintain our roads and bridges. The proposition also sought to exempt taxes on certain Special Olympic prizes and establish an Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund, whatever that is.

Some of us are leery of dedicated funding for state agencies, because it largely relieves the agency from annual budgetary oversight. The Department of Conservation is an example. But perhaps more importantly, some of us are leery of ballot propositions that send mixed signals. The tax was promoted by everyone from the governor on down on the basis that funds are needed for our roads and bridges. Most of us agree with that need. But the actual ballot measure sought to play games with the funds.

If the state proposed a cleanly worded tax proposal that provided funding just for roads and bridges, with no gimmicks, hidden agendas, or other chicanery, I would vote for it, and I believe many others would too. We need more funds for roads. We don't need more games.

GARY L. GAINES, Cape Girardeau