From Left: Teresa Galvin, Jackson County Legislature; Kevin Gard, OPCM L.U. 518; Alise Martiny, Building Trades; Richard Sargent, Elevator Constructors L.U.12; Kevin O’Neill, KCMO City Council; Missouri Governor Parson; Dave Coleman, Ironworkers L.U. 10; Dave Kirkpatrick, OPCM L.U. 518; John Fennesy, IBEW L.U. 124

There is a lot of hesitation from Democrats reaching out to Republicans. But lets face it we are a red state that is not going to get bluer any time soon. So, it was great to see the Building Trades reach out to Governor Parson to sit down and talk about priorities that both groups can agree on. The first and most important priority is the states infrastructure. Governor Parson supports a gas tax that would enable our state to address our crumbling infrastructure.

The Governor supported a bonding bill about two years ago that was intended to pay for repairing over 200 bridges which included a federal grant that would repair the Rocheport Bridge over the Missouri River on I-70. That also freed up funds for MODOT to come up with the states $100 million share of paying for the Buck Oneil Bridge. But none of that helped repair our aging roads and they continue to deteriorate. Senate Bill 262, sponsored by state Senator Dave Schatz, R-Franklin County, would send a referendum to the voters asking them to increase the state’s excise tax on motor fuel by 2 cents per gallon each year over the next 5-years. This would increase the tax from 17 cents to 27 cents. Parson supports the tax and has indicated he would actually like to see it higher. Many legislators are concerned because the gas tax that went before voters in 2018 was opposed by 53.6 percent of the voters. Labor leaders offered to help the Governor any way they can to get a gas tax passed if a referendum were to go before the voters. It was good to see the Governor make a special effort to visit with the members of the Building Trades and have serious dialogue with organized labor. As I’ve said before, there are issues we can work together on and certainly infrastructure is one of those.