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A new referendum petition to make an increase to the state's gas tax a public vote was filed Friday afternoon after an initial petition was denied by the Secretary of State's Office for a procedural error.

The referendum petition would allow Missouri voters to decide whether to implement an increase in the state's tax on motor fuel, currently set at 17 cents.

The Missouri General Assembly recently passed a plan to gradually increase the tax from 17 cents per gallon to 29.5 cents per gallon over five years. The funding raised from the tax would primarily go to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt penned an opinion rejecting the petition to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, whose office then notified the petitioning group May 27 of the rejection because of formatting errors.

The following afternoon, the group that filed the initial petition, Americans for Prosperity, refiled a revised version of the petition.

Jeremy Wisdom, elections specialist at the Secretary of State's Office, said the petition will likely be approved to collect signatures if the initial formatting issues are resolved.

The petition would need to acquire 10,000 signatures by the end of August to appear on the ballot.

MoDOT Communications Director Linda Horn said the department is not commenting on the referendum at this time.

Missouri voters have turned down such measures as recently as 2018 with Proposition D, asking voters to increase the state fuel tax by 10 cents over four years in 2.5 cent increments.

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