Senate Republican Leader Steve Ehlmann proposed a bill that would use revenue from the parks and soils sales tax for levee repair.
Missy Shelton has the story from Jefferson City.
In his bill, Ehlmann proposes using revenue from the parks and soils sales tax for levee repair.
The one-tenth of one percent sales tax supports the state park system and funds water and soil conservation.
The Missouri Conservation Federation opposed the use of the money for levee repair, calling it unconstitutional.
Deidre Hunter is director of the organization.
The fiscal statement attached to the bill acknowledges that using revenue from the sales tax is unconstitutional.
But Senator Ehlmann said a precedent set in 1986 authorizes the use of the parks and soils sales tax revenue for levee repair.
Opposition to using parks and soil sales tax revenue also comes from those who argue levee repair is not damage caused by erosion.
Using funds from the sales tax to repair damage caused by erosion is legally considered an appropriate use of the money.
Merle Doughty, a farmer from Livingston County who has been involved with the sales tax since its inception, argued that levee repair is not caused by erosion.
According to Ehlmann, floods damage the soil by causing erosion.
The bill would set up a Levee Tax Fund with money coming mainly from a one-tenth of one percent tax on the assessed value of property protected by industrial levees.
The parks and soils sales tax would only be a supplement for the Levee Tax Fund.
Even so, Hunter says the money should not be used in any way for levee repair.
Ehlmann said he wants to see flood-plain farmers receive revenue from the parks and soil sales tax.
Disagreement over whether or not the funds should be used for levee repair has not been resolved.
The bill is still under deliberation.
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