Rep. Hansen says sales tax could push local Hwy. 54, bridge projects
State Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Frankford) said a one-cent sales tax proposed for the ballot could refinance MoDOT’s plunging budget for projects at a campaign appearance in Louisiana on Thursday, Dec. 5.
The 40th District representative who serves Pike County said projects sought in the area like a new Champ Clark Bridge and Hwy. 54 widening could benefit from the proposed transportation tax.
Hansen also said at a reception held at the Twin Pike Family YMCA that the proposed tax incentives to lure Boeing to St. Louis for production of the 777x passenger jet is “a good deal for the state, long term.”
The representative entering his run for a second term in the November 2014 election said he wanted to continue to balance Missouri’s budget, despite needs for Medicare. He also expects to see another tax break bill for small business owners and Missourians this year, along with a voter identification bill.
The proposed one-cent increase that has yet to make the ballot would provide money for “ports, highways, bike trails and OATS, the rural bus program,” Hansen said. “The people would get a chance to vote on it,” if enough signatures of statewide registered voters are collected and approved. It would sunset in 10 years.
The impact could help fund a somewhat stalled Champ Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River, improvements on Hwy. 54 to Mexico and the completion of the Hannibal bypass, Hansen added. The bridge project is still in the environmental review and planning stages and construction is not funded under MoDOT’s dwindling construction fund.
Hansen voted for the bill Gov. Jay Nixon signed Friday, Dec. 6 to offer Boeing $150 million in tax incentives to build the 777x. St. Louis is in competition with Utah, California, Texas and Kansas to get the production.
Missouri would relax $1.7 billion in taxes over the next 23 years to have the plane built in St. Louis. However, the project, which has $140 billion in orders, would provide 8,000 jobs and bolster Boeing’s workforce to 22,000 here, Hansen said.
“It’s based on a return on your investment,” Hansen said, which would be increased economic activity and tax revenues.
Boeing’s main competitor is Airbus, which is subsidized by the European Economic Union, Hansen said.
“You have to compete with them. It’s a worldwide economy and if you don’t play in it, your not in the game,” Hansen added.
“They won’t get the tax credits until they create jobs,” expected to occur in increments of 2,000. “We also have community college programs to train them.”
Medicaid and schools
Hansen said he would be working on education and Medicaid funding in the upcoming term, but only to the degree that Missouri can afford it.
For Medicaid “the federal government says they’ll pay us for the first three years and then we pay 10 percent of the cost but in the fifth and sixth years, who knows how much money we’ll need,” Hansen asked. “I will look at what other states have done. There’s areas we can expand and areas we can improve. We need to look at it very hard.”
Education should be funded to its fullest extent too, Hansen said, but the state also needs to balance its budget and protect it’s triple-A bond rating.
Education, Medicare and social services make up 53 percent of the state’s budget, Hansen added.
Hansen said he would get behind a voter’s ID bill expected to come before the legislature this year.
A free voter ID card should not put a burden on anyone, because people already have IDs for driving and other uses, he said.
St. Louis Democrat Keith English introduced a voter ID bill last year, showing that the legislature is not as polarized politically as some think, Hanson added.
Hansen said his move to reinstate the $1 million cut from the Pike-Lincoln Tech Center rebuilding was done with the help of Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) and an example of the legislative compromise needed to get things done in Jefferson City.