House committee endorses gasoline tax increase

By The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A House committee has unanimously endorsed a proposal to increase Missouri's gasoline tax, sending the measure to the full House, where some Republicans oppose raising taxes.

The House Transportation Committee voted 13-0 Monday to approve raising the gas tax 12.5 cents during the next five years, resulting in a tax of 29.5 cents per gallon. It would be the first increase since 1996. Missouri's current tax of 17 cents a gallon is among the lowest in the nation.

The Missouri Senate approved the measure in March, with supporters saying the state needs the increased revenue to repair and upgrade a deteriorating infrastructure. The tax was forecast to generate more than $450 million.

The legislation also would allow divers to save their gas receipts and apply for a refund once a year.

Gov. Mike Parson and business and labor groups also support the proposed increase.

Speaker of the House Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, has previously said he’s against tax hikes. And it is unclear how quickly the proposal could come to a vote, with three weeks left in the session, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.