While the presidential election has been covered extensively, it is not the only issue on the ballot on November 8. Missouri residents will vote on several amendments, including Amendment 1, which aims to continue the sales and use tax allocated toward state parks, soil, and water conservation. The tax of 0.1% would generate about $90 million annually for these programs. After 10 years, the “sunset clause” requires that the tax be voted on again.
This amendment was first approved in 1984 and has been re-approved three times since, with the most recent vote in 1996 showing 71% voting in favor of the tax. Part of the reason why the amendment has generated so much support is because the funds have benefited such a large group. More than 18 million people visit Missouri state parks every year. Proceeds from this tax currently account for three quarters of the state parks’ funds. With this funding, state park staffs have maintained many natural and historical sites and implemented new programming. These efforts have resulted in a 97% approval rating from state park visitors, earning Missouri a spot among the top four park systems in the country.
Beyond state parks, this tax also benefits soil and water conservation. Missouri historically has struggled with soil erosion, especially on farmland, and the water contamination that it can cause. A portion of this tax funds a cost-sharing program that helps local farmers implement systems to increase soil and water conservation. This improves the quality of Missouri’s waterways and ensures that farms remain productive long into the future, helping maintain the economy and provide fresh, local produce for Missourians.