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Lawmakers Calls for Gas Tax Refund

January 27, 1999
By: David Grebe
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The collapse of the 15-year plan to fund highway construction has led one Missouri lawmaker to cry foul.

Rep. Connie Cierpiot, R-Independence, says the state should refund a gas tax passed to pay for the implementation of the plan. Repealing the 6 cents per gallon tax hike would leave Missouri with a gas tax of 11 cents per gallon.

With Carnahan and Republicans leaders agreeing the plan is underfunded, Cierpiothinks taxpayers have been misled.

"A lot of promises were made. If the planned is scrapped, then we're defrauding the taxpayer," Cierpiot says. Cierpiot says the state should refund the entire tax hike.

Repealing the tax would cost the Transportation Department $120 million dollars in fiscal year 2000.

Transportation Department Chief Engineer J.T. Yarnell said the 15-year plan still had some value.

"There are still a number of projects to do. We still view the 15-year plan as our guide." Yarnell noted cancelling the tax would put a further delay on needed projects.

A tax reduction would also impact Columbia and Boone County. Fifteen percent of the 6-cent sales tax is distributed to cities and counties.

Rep. Cierpiot and Yarnell were the only speakers when the bill was heard today by the House Transportation Committee.