On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Missouri voters will choose candidates for local, state, and federal office. In addition, the ballot will contain initiatives that concern reinstituting campaign contribution limits, banning sales tax on services, increasing the cigarette tax, requiring photo identification to vote, and renewing a water and soil tax.
Missouri is one of only five states that permit unlimited political donations to state elected officials and candidates. The Missouri Campaign Finance Reform Initiative would limit donors to $2,600 per candidate and would cap individual contributions to political parties at $25,000. This constitutional amendment would also ban certain donations from corporate entities and labor organizations.
The sales of tangible goods are currently subject to Missouri sales tax. The Taxpayer Protection Amendment would prohibit state and local governments from imposing new sales tax or use tax on services. This constitutional amendment is designed to prohibit new sales tax for such services as banking, accounting, home repairs, day care, and health care. This initiative would not affect existing sales taxes for tangible goods, whether or not those goods are purchased online. Supporters of this initiative include the Missouri Realtors Association, the Missouri Bankers Association, the Missouri Press Association, and the Missouri Broadcasters Association.
Tobacco Tax – Funding for Early Childhood Education
The Early Childhood Health & Education Amendment would increase Missouri’s cigarette tax from 17 cents per pack to 67 cents per pack. Proponents of this constitutional amendment estimate that such an increase would raise $300 million by 2020 for early childhood health and education programs. This measure is supported by the Missouri School Boards Association, the Missouri State NAACP, Associated Industries of Missouri, and the Missouri Retailers Association.
Tobacco Tax –Funding for Transportation
The second proposed tobacco tax increase, known as Proposition A, seeks to raise the tax from 17 cents per pack to 23 cents per pack to pay for transportation improvements, including repairs to roads and bridges. Supporters of this initiative estimate that it would result in an additional $95 million annually for transportation funding. Proposition A is supported by the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.
Photo ID in Order to Vote
House Joint Resolution 53 was approved by the Missouri General Assembly earlier this year and will appear on the ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment. This measure would require voters to show a valid government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Proponents of the measure argue that a photo ID would prevent potential voter fraud. Opponents argue that the state already requires voters to show some form of ID in order to vote.
State Parks and Natural Resources
Missouri’s Parks, Soil, and Water Sales Tax Initiative asks voters to renew for 10 years, the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites. The tax was created through a constitutional amendment specifically to support efforts to stop soil erosion and provide funding for the state park system. The tax was first approved by voters in 1984 and has since been reapproved by voters three times: in 1988, 1996, and 2006. Proponents of renewing the tax include the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Corn Growers, and the Missouri Soybean Association.
The ballot will contain summaries of these proposed measures. To view those summaries, click here.