Judge hears arguments in lawsuit aiming to block fuel tax referendum

A judge could decide as early as next week whether to allow a lawsuit to move forward challenging the inclusion of a proposed gasoline tax increase on Missouri’s November ballot.

Associate Circuit Judge Robert Schollmeyer listened to arguments on Tuesday over the lawsuit, filed in July by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove.

The suit argues that the wording for the proposed fuel tax measure violates the Missouri Constitution because it covers more than one subject and was improperly attached to an unrelated bill. That bill was passed by lawmakers in May and was originally written to make a tax deduction for Olympic medals won by Missouri athletes. It was later amended with the added gas tax referendum.

Attorneys for the state and organizations backing the measure said judges should be careful when deciding whether to allow cases like this to move forward. They argued the court should wait until after the election to intervene.

The measure would gradually increase Missouri’s gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon, moving the rate to 27 cents per gallon by 2022. If implemented, the tax could bring $293 million annually to the state road fund, analysts say.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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