After hours of heated debate, the Senate passed a bill that would keep alive a push to raise taxes and fees to fund road and bridge maintenance.
An odd coalition of Republicans and Democrats banded together and attempted to kill the measure as the Senate worked to pass most of the bills that will eventually make up much of a $6.2-billion state budget. But it passed 34-13, despite being likened to a suitcase full of snakes, a lipstick-covered pig and lying to constituents who elected lawmakers late last year.
“I must be the only conservative up here,” said Democratic Sen. Barbara Blackmon of Canton, after she read part of the state GOP platform to her colleagues while arguing against the bill. “… Did any one of you last year tell voters, ‘I’m going to raise your taxes the first year I’m in by $411 million?’ I know none of you did that, because you wouldn’t be here.”
Blackmon and others unsuccessfully offered several amendments, including one that would, in the event of a gasoline tax increase, require stickers be place on all gas pumps statewide saying it was compliments of the Legislature.
Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville said: “You are guaranteeing an increase on gasoline taxes. (Supporters) are happy the people are not paying attention … We were sold a bill of goods two weeks ago to pass tax cuts … This is a reversal, a regressive tax shift, with the burden falling squarely on the middle class and the poor. That’s just not fair … No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig.”