(The Center Square) – Less than a day after rejecting a petition for a vote on a gas tax, Missouri officials received and approved a corrected petition and posted it for public comment.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Thursday notified Secretary of State John Ashcroft that Petition 2022-R001 “must be rejected” because it failed to show information to be deleted and underlining of all new information in the document.
Ashcroft asked for the petition to be reviewed by Schmitt on May 17. It was filed by Jeremy Cady and Americans for Prosperity of Missouri for placement on the November 2022 ballot.
On Friday afternoon, the Secretary of State received a corrected document from Americans for Prosperity of Missouri. It was approved by the Attorney General and Petition 2022-R002 was posted for public comment for 15 days.
The Secretary of State’s office then has 23 days to draft ballot summary language. Before a group can begin gathering the required 110,000 signatures in 90 days, state law requires the petition to be approved by the Secretary of State.
“As is reflected in the opinion, there were small changes that needed to be made for the referendum to stand up against legal challenges, which we advised the group that filed the referendum,” said Chris Nuelle, a spokesman for the Attorney General.
The referendum seeks to alter Senate Bill 262, sponsored by Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan. It passed in the Senate by a 21-13 vote in March and in the House by a 104-52 vote on May 11, the last week of the legislative session. It will increase the tax on a gallon of gasoline by 2.5 cents starting in October.
Missourians currently pay 17 cents per gallon. The tax will increase by 2.5 cents a gallon in each fiscal year until it reaches a total of 29.5 cents per gallon on July 1, 2025.
During the fifth year of the phased-in gasoline tax, the driver of an average passenger car traveling about 12,000 miles per year would annually pay an additional $70, according to the nonprofit group Missourians for Transportation Investment (MFTI).
However, the bill included an option for gasoline purchasers to save their receipts and file for a refund of the new taxes.
The tax is expected to generate $513 million to improve the state’s roads. The Missouri Department of Transportation estimates it needs $745 million to complete all needed repairs and necessary additions.