The Senate on Wednesday approved a transportation plan estimated to raise $500 million in taxes to fund road projects. The proposal would need voter approval to become law. The bill, sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee chairman Morris Westfall, R-Halfway, would raise Missouri's general sales tax by three-eights of a cent to 4.6 cents per dollar and raise the gasoline tax by 6 cents to 23 cents per gallon. The bill was referred to the House Transportation Committee Thursday.
The House Transportation Committee on Tuesday voted a House transportation bill out of committee. The House bill, sponsored by House Transportation Committee chairman Don Koller, D-Summersville, would raise Missouri's general sales tax by one penny per dollar and raise the gas tax by 4 cents to 21 cents per gallon. The bill is 25th on the House perfection calendar. Bills on the perfection calendar will be debated on the floor. Members can propose amendments. After all amendments have been voted on, a motion will be made to declare the bill perfected, or in final form.
The House Transportation Committee will be looking at the Senate bill this week.
The House bill may be debated, but with only three weeks left in the legislative session, it is unlikely the bill has enough time to get through the process.
Thursday was a big day for the state budget. The Senate on Thursday passed an $18.8 billion budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Gov. Bob Holden on Thursday announced that this year's budget is worse than expected. He said it needs an additional $250 million. The budget for the current fiscal year must be balanced when it expires on June 30, which gives Holden around two months to come up with the money.
The differences between the House budget proposal and the Senate budget proposal--amounting to nearly $260 million--must be worked out in conference, which will begin this week. A budget proposal must be presented to the governor by the state constitutional deadline of May 10, one week before the legislative session ends.
No action was taken on either the House stadium bill or the Senate proposal. Both plans would allow state funding for a St. Louis Cardinal's baseball stadium.
The Senate expects to debate a Senate stadium bill today. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, is on the Senate informal perfection calendar for today. Bills on the informal calendar may be brought up at any time. This proposal allows for state funding for community development projects throughout the state in addition to the Cardinal's stadium.
The House stadium bill is 41st on the House perfection calendar. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Foley, D-St. Louis County, would allow state funding for the Cardinal's stadium with bond issue money.
The House on Thursday approved a bill that would allow private persons to carry concealed weapons. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Frank Barnitz, D-Lake Spring, would not require a vote of the people for the bill to become law. The legislature approved a similar bill that was defeated by a vote of the people in 1999. The bill was presented to the Senate Thursday.
The bill is expected to be assigned to a Senate committee today.
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