by Kat Riddler, Editor-In-Chief
With incendiary language, negative advertising, and a constant barrage of breaking news revelations about the candidates fueling outrage in the 2016 Presidential election, it is easy to overlook the importance of five statewide Constitutional Amendments that will share that ballot. These five amendments however, will have major consequences for Missouri’s millennials for years to come. To help our readers be better prepared to cast an informed vote on these issues, The Current has prepared this guide to the five ballot measures.
Amendment One: Conservation Tax
This one authorizes the continuance of an existing 1/10th of 1 per sales tax that goes to fund conservation, state parks and historic sites in Missouri. In a state that woefully underfunds much that contributes to a better quality of life, this conservation tax has been one of the bright spots. By having its own dedicated revenue stream, the State Conservation Department has been able to preserve real streams, state parks, and historic sites. Scenic beauty and great recreational sites are a natural resource worth preserving for ourselves and future generations. VOTE: YES
Amendment Two: Campaign Contribution Limits
First steps are often the most important and the hardest to take. Missouri is notorious nationally for having very lax ethics laws for politicians. We also currently have no contribution limits on what special interests can donate to a candidate. This has resulted in a glut of money pouring into campaigns…money with strings attached. One state representative alone in Jefferson County has received $175,000 this year from a millionaire on the other side of the state. Amendment Two would cap individual donations to campaigns in Missouri. It is not perfect, but it is a first step. VOTE: YES
Amendment Three: Cigarette Tax Increase
Normally when you hear someone wants to raise taxes on cigarettes to help fund early childhood education, it is a no-brainer for non-smokers. But Amendment Three is a smokescreen by the big tobacco lobby aimed at hurting their competition and helping themselves. In a rare show of bipartisanship, the amendment is opposed by both the democratic and republican candidates for governor. It is also opposed by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and other groups that oppose smoking, but understand this law is really aimed at helping big tobacco. VOTE: NO.
Amendment Four: Prohibit New Sales/Use Taxes
You cannot make an informed decision on what you do not know. Yet that is what the proponents of Constitutional Amendment Four want the voters of Missouri to do. They want voters to say that no service or thing that did not exist in 2015 and was taxed by state or local governments can ever be taxed in the future. In other words, a new product or service that no one even knows possibly could exist say ten years from now, could not be taxed at that time. It makes far more sense to just wait and see what the future brings and decide at that time as we always have. VOTE: NO.
Amendment Six: Voter ID Law
Amendment Six is the Missouri General Assembly’s latest attempt at voter suppression. Political parties that fear voter participation by the young and minority populations are on the road to extinction. There simply have been few if any cases of the type of voter fraud these laws say they are trying to protect us from. But there is evidence that these laws keep thousands of students, seniors, and minorities away who cannot easily obtain the required photo ID from the state. Missouri does not need the embarrassment of passing apartheid style laws to benefit one political party over another. VOTE: NO.