Your Opinion: Oppose Kehoe’s sales tax, surcharge proposals

Dear Editor:

It confounds me why Republicans don’t disown Sen. Kehoe. His proposed legislation is more liberal than any current office holder. He wants to raise sales tax by 1 percent for highway work. He calls this tax economic development. In his State of the Union rebuttal U.S. Sen. Mark Rubio, R-Fla., said a tax increase is not economic development.

Sen. Kehoe wants to give this sales tax to MoDOT — a proven abuser of funds. With this tax increase, we are being asked to rely on MoDOT to form a plan on how to spend the funds. History has shown MoDOT can’t stick to any 5-, 10- or 15-year plan that is approved.

The only given seems to be they want to add a third lane to I-70. The rest of the plan is unknown. It seems we always have to build something new but there are never plans to maintain infrastructure. Call me skeptical but, I don’t trust MoDOT or Sen. Kehoe.

Sen. Kehoe’s liberal policies are again evident in his proposal to change our utility laws. Rep. Riddle also supports this bill. They want to allow utilities to assess a surcharge on residential bills for something called Infrastructure Strengthening and Regulatory Streamlining (ISRS). I call it a utility rate increase. This is Sen. Kehoe’s second shot at trying to get around the Construction Work in Progress laws that currently keep utilities from charging us for infrastructure changes before they are complete and functional. We Missourians passed this law to protect ourselves from being taken advantage of by utilities.

Ameren has had numerous rate increases recently. My own personal electric costs are up 24 percent since 2009. Advertisements on television would have you believe our laws are antiquated and need to be changed to match surrounding states. However, a look at the largest providers of power in contiguous states shows almost all charge more for residential kWh than we pay. If infrastructure changes are needed, let Ameren and other utilities cut the bonuses, stock options, pay increases, and golden parachute packages for executives and pay for improvements from their rate of return profits.

Taxpayers/ratepayers — protect yourselves by telling legislators you do not support these liberal policies. If you stay silent, you will bear the cost of the new highway tax and higher utility rates.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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