Sunday morning I watched interviews of state Sens. Tom Dempsey and Jolie Justus. Several items of discussion were worthy of note.
More money for building/repairing Missouri highways - Sen. Dempsey mentioned that more fuel efficient vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles were causing a reduction in revenues. Sen. Justus seemed to imply that she thought that all taxpayers in the state should subsidize those who use mass transit.Â
If the recently repaved section of U.S., on the west side of Jefferson City, is one of the worst sections of road in Missouri, then I see no need for additional highway funding. If the state is experiencing a significant loss of fuel tax revenues due to the increased use of alternative-fuel vehicles the situation could be addressed by simply adding an annual use tax on those vehicles when their plates are renewed. If current fuel taxes are truly inadequate then increasing the fuel tax from $.17/gallon to as much as $.20/gallon, in addition to a use tax on alternative-fuel vehicles might be in order. I see no justification for increasing the sales tax to pay for highway improvements.Â
Sen. Justus commented that she believed that Missouri's tax burden was ranked either 48 or 49, she must have thought she was lived in Tennessee. The Tax Foundation ranked Missouri's state and local tax burden at 38, Tennesee's was ranked 48. Based only on state taxes, Missouri ranks 42 and Tennesee ranks 50.
My wife and I recently purchased property here but we kept our property in Tennesee, and we have maintained our Tennesee residency. I am shocked at Missouri taxes when compared to those we pay in Tennesee. Tennesse does have a higher sales tax but they essentially have no income tax. Tennesee property taxes are substantially lower than Missouri property taxes. Vehicle licensing costs appear to be much less expensive in Tennesee. What the heck is personal property tax? Â
To date I have not noticed that Missouri provides me with anything extra for the higher taxes. My very rural Tennesee neighbors and I are quite satisfied with the services provided by state and local government. (We bought property here because our granddaughter and great-granddaughter live here. We can now comfortably spend more time visiting them.)