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Amendment Four Passes

April 03, 1996
By: DANA COLEMAN and ANGIE GADDY
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - One percent usually doesn't get so much hype.

But from now on, one percent will determine whether state tax increases are submitted to Missouri voters.

That's because voters approved Tuesday (April 2) the constitutional amendment titled Amendment Four.

It requires voter approval anytime the legislature raises taxes in a calendar year by either more than one percent, or by more $50 million dollars.

The proposal was drafted by the state's Farm Bureau and strongly backed by Gov. Mel Carnahan who's seeking reelection.

In the weeks preceding the vote, U.S. Rep. Mel Hancock had used the tax issue to attack Carnahan and his prior support of the education tax increase Carnahan urged lawmakers to pass without voter approval.

"Mel Hancock told the Republicans...that the only way they could defeat me was to also defeat Amendment Four," Carnahan said. "I don't say that that's correct. That's his opinion that's his advice."

But with seven months before the November elections, Carnahan has said he thinks the outcome of Amendment Four will have little impact on the gubernatorial election.

Hancock argues that Amendment Four won't keep taxes from rising.

"I will say this, another four years of Carnahan, and Missouri won't be a low-tax state," Hancock said.

Hancock had lead the successful campaign 16 years ago to impose limits on government finances.

While Hancock's proposal requires voter approval for tax increases for local government, there had been no such voter requirement for state taxes raised by the legislature.

Missouri leaders in support of the measure included Jo Frappier, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Charles Kruse, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

"We think Amendment Four prevented possible abuse down the road - the constitution needed a closing of the loophole," Frappier said.

Kruse said "There are people in the state that think taxes shouldn't go up at all without a vote of the people. But all of the delegates at the Farm Bureau voted unanimously to support this. We started this movement in 94."