What is the parks, soils and water sales tax?
The parks, soils and water sales tax is a statewide one-tenth-of-one-percent sales tax that provides funding for Missouri state parks and historic sites and soil and water conservation. The tax is divided equally between the two efforts. Missouri voters first approved the tax in 1984 and have since renewed it twice.
How has the soils portion of the tax money been used?
Money from the sales tax has gone toward several programs that help Missouri’s soil and water resources by giving agricultural landowners incentives to put conservation practices on the land. It has provided funding and assistance for more than 70 watershed projects and has helped many landowners install conservation practices, processing more than 150,000 claims. Missouri has decreased its erosion rates by half since the passage of the sales tax, saving more than 148 million tons of soil.
I don’t own agricultural land. How does this benefit me?
Everyone is Missouri benefits from soil and water conservation. Conserving soil is necessary for keeping agricultural lands productive for future generations. A decrease in soil productivity could negatively impact the Missouri economy, which depends heavily on agriculture. Sediment is also the leading cause of water pollution in Missouri. The sediment, nutrients, pesticides and other chemicals that enter Missouri’s waterways can add millions of dollars to water treatment costs in Missouri communities each year, increase chances of flooding, and harm valuable aquatic habitat and organisms. By focusing on agricultural land, we can have a greater impact and better conserve Missouri’s soil and water resources.