Missouri bill would reduce one county’s property taxes

Missouri bill would reduce one county’s property taxes

May 2, 2022 0 By Joe Mueller

A Senate bill with several tax modifications was questioned and criticized due to one section on a county property tax.

Senate Bill 743, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, is 49 pages and caps the total combined sales taxes rate in municipalities. It adds cities to a list of municipalities authorized to levy a sales tax, ends the sales tax hotels pay on utilities and exempts tickets to possible 2026 World Cup soccer matches from sales tax.

But the amendment receiving the most attention during the House Special Committee on Government Oversight on Thursday would annually reduce the property tax by the amount of growth in property tax revenue in counties with more than 400,000 but fewer than 500,000 inhabitants. The reduction would expire Dec. 31, 2073.

Only one county in Missouri meets that description – St. Charles.

Representatives from fire protection districts, public school districts and nonprofit organizations in St. Charles testified against the bill. The amendment came from an earlier bill introduced by Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, and included St. Charles, Cass, Henry, Bates, Vernon and Barton Counties.

“Because of the defunding of all the fire protection districts, we’re going to have to make reductions if this were to become law,” said Skip Stephens, chief of the Cottleville Fire Protection District. “Training budgets and personnel would take a hit. With rising fuel costs and other personnel costs, as a resident of the county I would hate to see this happen.”

Thomas Vineyard, chief of the O’Fallon Fire Protection District and president of St. Charles County Emergency Services, said fire districts rely heavily on personal property taxes.

“The taxes we collect have been approved by the voters,” Vineyard said. “So while it’s probably not an accurate statement to say we’re not going to lose revenue, we are remaining revenue neutral for probably the next eight or nine years.”

Rep. Bill Falkner, R-St. Joseph, stated he opposed the amendment.

“I just don’t see cutting the personal property tax as an option without a viable way to replace it because the services we demand from municipalities are going to stay the same or go up,” Falkner said. “People want to be paid more. Equipment costs more and you’re required to do more or as much.”

Scott Kimble, the director of advocacy for the Missouri Association of School Administrators, said the five public school districts in St. Charles would lose between $75 to $80 million.

“We would see this as a tremendous harm,” Kimble said.

Peg Capo, the executive director of the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles County, said her organization gets 16% of its income from personal property taxes. She emphasized that 53% of voters approved the establishment of the nonprofit in 1977, and 67% approved a tax levy of 16 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

“We believe the taxpayers of St. Charles County have voted on this issue and support us,” Capo said.

This article was originally posted on Missouri bill would reduce one county’s property taxes