Tuesday, July 22, 2014

St. Charles Attorney Mike Carter Curious About Possible MoDOT Use Of Public Resources To Promote Campaign For Amendment 7

Are These MoDOT Signs Promoting A Tax Increase? Pictures Taken Near Highways 44 & 55 

St. Charles, MO July 22, 2014

It is supposed to be against the Missouri Constitution to use taxpayer dollars or public resources to promote political campaigns. So, St. Charles Attorney Michael E. Carter is curious as to whether the Missouri Department of Transportation is doing just that by using electronic roadway information signs to convey the message, “Fix Our Roads & Bridges.” (See picture insert)

“Government bodies sometimes seem to skirt the law by conducting what they like to call public informational campaigns that don’t advocate voting one way or the other,” explained Carter. “But the MoDOT type construction signs we've been seeing in the metro area don’t have much in the way of public information. Instead they seem to admonish the public to fix our roads and bridges. MoDOT would certainly take a dim view of individuals taking it upon themselves to make highway repairs, and as they seemingly don’t have to remind themselves that they are the ones who fix highways, one can only conclude this is advocacy for Amendment 7.”

Amendment 7 is a ¾ cent sales tax which will appear on the August 5thballot. Carter said he believes the public should be free to make up its own mind on the issue without public resources being used to persuade them.

"If this construction-type signage is being done by MoDot, we must remember that those signs belong both to people who support this tax increase and also to those people who don’t support the issue. It is unfair to use the money and resources given collectively to support public improvements and services to be used for political advocacy,” stated Carter. He further added that if these are construction-company-owned signs, they should not be using universally accepted governmental traffic construction type signs to promote tax increases under the color of traffic control authority.

Carter also pointed out that MoDOT routinely has to take down the signs of politicians and individuals who put up signs on the public rights of way. “To turn around and then put up their own version of a campaign sign (or allow them) on the public right of way, using public equipment, and public employees would be cause for great concern."

Mike Carter is an independent minded citizen attorney who values freedom from governmental intrusion above nearly all else.

Contact: Dixon 636-916-4040 felicia@carterlegal.com

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