There has been an internal debate inside The Missouri Times since its founding whether or not editorials are worth writing in a modern age. As it turns out, events have shaped our decision.
The decline of mainstream media outlets, Donald Trump’s rise while attacking them, the fact that an overwhelming number of Missourians completely ignore the state’s largest newspapers opinions, and the expanse and vitriol of social media could lead a reasonable person to decide editorials are a meaningless relic of the past.
We have come to the conclusion that these events mean the opposite.
We believe there is a need in the state of Missouri for a right-of-center view, one that understands and takes into account the views and concerns of those in rural Missouri as well as understands and respects the political process. We hope to bring you a pragmatic right-of-center view that strives to put the welfare of the State of Missouri above either party or the whims of any extremist ideology while respecting more liberal views and those of Missourians who live in the urban centers.
With those goals in mind, every couple of weeks you will see an editorial from The Missouri Times. It was an easy decision to choose Proposition D as the subject of our first.
Proposition D is the exactly the right proposal at exactly the right time.
Now, the state is being led by men who truly care about the condition of the state’s infrastructure more than the condition of their social media infrastructure. Missouri is led by two passionate advocates of building highways so that they can leave the state better than they found it.
Missouri does not have large oil fields to cash in on or ocean beaches to lure tourists to in order finance public services, but we are fortunate to be in the middle of the country and have the opportunity to capitalize on that as a transportation and distribution hub.
It’s fair to point out that there are good arguments as to why a gas tax is not the best way to fund roads. However, of the options available, a gas tax is by far the best. In the case of Proposition D, it phases in the 10 cent increase over four years so Missourians can manage their budgets so. In many cases, Missourians will buy new cars over the next four years where the increased fuel efficiency will make up the difference.
Of course, there are arguments for safety and a more reliable revenue stream for the Highway Patrol, but the added revenue to Missouri cities and counties is probably a more pragmatic benefit.
Sure, large counties like Cass County will receive an additional $750,000 a year to build and maintain county roads, but once you get out of the big cities you will find that towns like Stanberry in Gasconade County will receive over $18,000 a year and Cabool in Texas County will receive over $33,000 to build and repair city streets. That is big money in small towns that you can bet rural Missourians will stretch every dime of.
A fact that cannot be overlooked is that the only reason Proposition D can even be seriously considered, much less supported, is that the leaders at MODOT have restored the reputation of the department. The old ghosts of the 15-year plan have been exorcised by years of solid management and keeping their promises to Missourians.
It’s always against the instincts of conservatives to support any tax increase, and this one too should be studied with a skeptical eye. However, a conservative mantra is to run government more like a business. Well, there is no responsible business who neglects to maintain its capital investments.
In the case of the State of Missouri, it’s not conservative to neglect to support its most important capital investments – it’s just irresponsible.
In today’s divided age, there seem to be fewer things that unite us as Missourians, the highways that we travel on are one of them. It’s why we urge all Missourians from all parts of the state to unite and pass Proposition D.