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On the Ballot

29 Jul 2014

By Dire States Staff

A big part of the Dire States movement is finding new ways for state and local governments to fund infrastructure projects. This can be done in any number of ways, but one of the most sure-fire ways of getting public buy-in is by taking it directly to the voters.

This fall, there are a number of state constitutional amendments and ballot initiatives that we will be watching and, in some cases, getting involved in to help the cause.

Here are a couple to keep your eyes on as we move into the fall:

Amendment 7 – Missouri – August 5

Missouri voters will deciding on a new sales tax increase dedicated specifically for infrastructure project development. You can read more here via BallotPedia – the question being put forth to Missouri voters is as follows:

Should the Missouri Constitution be changed to enact a temporary sales tax of three-quarters of one percent to be used solely to fund state and local highways, roads, bridges and transportation projects for ten years, with priority given to repairing unsafe roads and bridges?

This change is expected to produce $480 million annually to the state’s Transportation Safety and Job Creation Fund and $54 million for local governments. Increases in the gas tax will be prohibited. This revenue shall only be used for transportation purposes and cannot be diverted for other uses.

Prop 1 – Texas – November 4

Dire States spent a week in Texas in early July in support of Proposition 1. You can read more about Prop 1 here, via BallotPedia. The ballot language for this initiative reads:

The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.

What that means:

A portion of the oil and gas production tax revenue will go to the State HighwaY Fund for the sole purpose of constructing, maintaining, and acquiring rights-of-way for public roadways other than toll roads. A projected $1.4 billion a year will flow into the State Highway Fund. This is not a new tax or user fee.

Constitutional Amendment – Wisconsin – November 4

The amendment being put forward to voters is very simple: should monies generated from transportation-related fees be used solely for transportation projects. You can read more about the amendment here, via BallotPedia. The ballot language reads:

Shall section 9 (2) of article IV and section 11 of article VIII of the constitution be created to require that revenues generated by use of the state transportation system be deposited into a transportation fund administered by a department of transportation for the exclusive purpose of funding Wisconsin’s transportation systems and to prohibit any transfers or lapses from this fund?

Stay tuned here throughout the fall as we look at more ballot measures and other exciting ways that state and local governments are funding infrastructure.