JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The state’s largest general farm organization has announced it’s opposition to numerous ballot measures including an minimum wage increase and legalizing medical marijuana while being in support of increasing Missouri’s fuel tax.
The Missouri Farm Bureau Board of Directors took action based on the grassroots policies developed by and voted upon by representatives of there more than 130,000 member families across Missouri.
Amendment 1 (“Clean Missouri” redistricting and ethics changes) – OPPOSE
Proponents of Amendment 1 claim it will rein in corruption in Jefferson City and make every district competitive in redistricting for state legislature elections. Unfortunately, in practice the ethics reforms are minimal and easily skirted, while the redistricting proposal would make Missouri the most gerrymandered state in the nation.
Currently redistricting attempts to keep “communities of interest” together and keep entire counties and cities in single districts whenever possible. Amendment 1 would mandate extensive gerrymandering in an attempt to balance each district with an equal number of Democrat and Republican voters. This would by necessity require voters from urban and suburban areas to be joined with rural voters in massively contorted districts.
“Clean Missouri” would do little to change the political divide in Jefferson City, but it would have a major detrimental impact on our state. Gerrymandered districts would split up communities, harm rural citizens’ representation and ensure political parties and consultants gain even more power over the process. Missouri needs ethics reforms, but this particular proposal causes far more harm than good.
Amendment 2, Amendment 3, and Proposition C (Medical Marijuana legalization) – OPPOSE
Three November ballot issues would legalize marijuana use in Missouri for medical purposes. Marijuana usage remains illegal under federal law, so legalizing its use under Missouri state law would put our state at odds with federal law and cause unnecessary legal problems.
Missouri Farm Bureau’s members also believe that drug abuse is a significant problem in Missouri and across the United States. Increasing the supply of unregulated drugs to our society would have detrimental impacts, so our members oppose these three measures.
Proposition B (Minimum Wage increase) – OPPOSE
Proposition B would increase the state minimum wage by nearly 10 percent and place an automatic escalation clause raising it approximately 10 percent per year for the next four years. In 2023 the minimum wage would freeze at $12.00 per hour, a 53 percent increase from the current minimum wage.
Missouri Farm Bureau member policy supports keeping Missouri’s minimum wage in line with the federal minimum wage and opposes automatic escalation clauses in the minimum wage. Mandating wage increases of 53 percent will have a huge detrimental impact on small employers and farms. It will ultimately hurt those it was intended to help, as employers will be forced to lay off workers or automate jobs due to excessive labor costs. Our members oppose Proposition B.
Proposition D (Transportation Funding) – SUPPORT
Missouri Farm Bureau members have long supported addressing the funding shortfalls for our roads and bridges. Funding for roads and bridges has not been increased in over 22 years. In that time, the value of that money has been cut in more than half by inflation and increased cost of construction materials. We now have the seventh-largest road system in the nation but are 46th in funding per mile.
Proposition D would generate over $400 million annually for Missouri’s roads and bridges through a reasonable, phased-in plan. The money would be constitutionally protected from politicians dipping into it for other uses; the Missouri constitution mandates that it must be used on the Highway Patrol or roads and bridges. Cities and counties would have complete local control over $120 million of these funds annually, fairly distributed between urban and rural counties. The remaining funds would be used by MoDOT solely on roads and bridges across the state.
Whether it is for getting goods to market or our children to school, Missouri Farm Bureau members recognize the need for additional funding for Missouri’s transportation system, and are in support of Proposition D.