Missouri bill increasing gasoline tax heads to Governor for approval

JOPLIN, Mo. –Missouri’s gas prices are among the nation’s cheapest.

But under a bill passed by the state’s legislature, prices could increase for the first time in decades.

If signed by Governor Mike Parson, the proposal would raise the state’s 17 cent gas tax by 2.5 cents per year, until it hits 29.5 cents per gallon in 2025. 

The money from this increased tax would go toward state road and bridge repairs.

Some Missouri residents aren’t happy with the idea.

“In my honest opinion, I don’t like it, just because it makes me have to pay more money, just so that way they can fix the roads, which they should be doing anyway,” said Missouri driver Richard Stotts.

The tax increase could impact non-profits that rely on driving to complete their services. For the area agency on aging in Joplin, it could affect their Meals on Wheels program.

“As a nonprofit, of course, it would affect us, we drive thousands of miles every year, in company trucks delivering meals on wheels,” said Jennifer Shotwell, the Area Agency on Aging chief executive officer.

The bill includes an option for a yearly rebate of tax money spent on fuel, but keeping that money locked up for up to a year can create budgeting challenges.

“From a budget standpoint, of course, we would have to make adjustments to incur that increase, on a month to month basis until we got reimbursed through the refund option, and for us, that is doable, although tying up funds which could be used for meals and other services is always tough,” Shotwell said.

And by relying on volunteers, the increased prices could lead them to face a volunteer shortage.

“My concern is that as we move forward, I know at the start it’s only two and a half cents, but our organization relies heavily on volunteer drivers, and we do not have the means to compensate our volunteers for the miles they drive delivering meals,” Shotwell said.

If Governor Parson signs the bill into law, the tax will go into effect beginning October 1st of this year.