Missouri voters could cap property taxes if legislature approves constitutional amendment

Missouri voters could cap property taxes if legislature approves constitutional amendment

March 17, 2022 0 By Joe Mueller

A proposed constitutional amendment introduced in the state legislature would give Missouri voters an opportunity to cap property tax assessments.

“This has to do with those who are having difficulties paying their property taxes and they’re afraid they’re going to be taxed out of their homes,” state Rep. Jeff Coleman, R-Grain Valley and sponsor of House Joint Resolution 80, said during a hearing of the Special Committee on Public Policy. “There are some big problem areas, Jackson County being one, and St. Louis. But this is not just in those two areas. This is statewide.”

If the legislation passes, voters would decide in November if, beginning Jan. 1, 2023, all residential real estate would remain the same value as the most recent assessment. If the property was sold since the previous assessment, the value would be the amount received by the seller for the sale.

The legislation would limit new assessments or reassessments of residential real estate. New assessment increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index or up to 2% annually, whichever is less. However, assessed amounts can reflect value added to the property after new construction or improvements.

“The assessors are only doing what we’ve given them through (statute) language to do so,” Coleman said. “I’ve been told this bill goes against the assessors and this has nothing against the assessors.”

No one testified against the proposed constitutional amendment during the Monday hearing, but two organizations submitted written statements in opposition. Mark Bruns, representing the City of St. Peters, submitted written testimony stating the legislation limits the fair assessment by restricting increases to a set minimum and not actual market value.

“HJR 80 will impact property tax revenue which will impact school funding, harm bonding capacity for school districts, and result in inequities between real property owners,” Scott Kimble, the director of legislative advocacy for the Missouri Association of School Administrators, stated in written testimony against the bill. “Further, passage of this joint resolution would mean that many residential properties will never be assessed at their true market value.”

Coleman, a former vice president of the Grain Valley School Board for more than seven years, stated school district funding wouldn’t decrease and additional money could be approved by voters.

“They get the exact same thing they’ve always received,” Coleman testified. “Moving forward, they don’t get the sky’s the limit. It puts transparency into the taxation. If they do need more money, they’re not going to increase the (property) values to get extra money. They’re going to go to the constituents to ask them to raise their taxes or levies and the people of Missouri will get a say.”

Preston Smith, a member of the Jackson County board of equalization, testified he sometimes cried along with homeowners who feared losing their property because of high taxes. Smith, a Republican, is running for Jackson County executive against incumbent Frank White, a Democrat who played 18 years for the Kansas City Royals and received 72% of the vote in 2018.

“I’ve heard homeowners cry and I cried, too, because it’s sad to hear these people,” Smith said. “They’re scared.”

This article was originally posted on Missouri voters could cap property taxes if legislature approves constitutional amendment