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Nixon signs HB 613, will lower housing costs

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon signed HB 613 into law making changes and statutorily codifying existing practices regarding property tax collection. The bill will go into effect on August 28.

Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, sponsored the bill in hopes to streamline and simplify property tax collection.

“These are some technical, but important, changes to our law based on the recommendations of a panel of county collectors who sought to make our statutes reflect recent court decisions and the reality of the way tax sales happen today,” said Crawford, R-Buffalo. “I want to thank the governor for signing these changes into law, and thank my colleagues for providing strong bipartisan support to my legislation.”

The Governor could have let it become law without signing on July 14th, but chose to sign the bill signifying that he supports the legislation.

The bill is seen as a victory for seniors living in housing developments constructed with tax credits. Currently, the practice was that county assessors would take into account limitations on rent and property use, but some assessors had begun disregarding existing precedence and raising property taxes as they could on unrestricted properties.

“HB 613 clarifies specific merchandise codes relating to electronics, appliance rentals, construction machinery, and more,” said Warren County Assessor Wendy Nordwald. “This is a vital clarification needed as an assessor and I applaud the Governor’s signature.”

Property tax increases were being passed onto residents on fixed incomes, and the new law codifies existing practices which many believe will stem the rising cost of housing due to exorbitant property tax increases.

“The passage of HB 613 is an enormous win for Missouri’s affordable housing industry,” said Jason Maddox, president of MACO Companies, an affordable housing company. “The bill will prevent huge tax assessments on large, but inevitable, rent increases for Missouri’s low income seniors and families.”

The bill had no opposition in committee and supporters said the bill further updates, tightens, and otherwise cleans up the statute’s chapter, and clarifies areas that frequently led to lawsuits by giving collectors discretion as to what constitutes “reasonable” costs of sale. The bill also repeals a section that operates as a disincentive for keeping properties maintained.

“We applaud Governor Nixon and the state legislature for enacting HB 613,” said Beyond Housing President/CEO Chris Krehmeyer. “This new law will prevent great financial damage to those who produce affordable housing across the state of Missouri.  The bill is pragmatic and straight forward in assessing taxes to owners of affordable housing based upon the allowable rents and thereby income set forth by federal and state guidelines.  We understand the importance of paying taxes to support schools, police and fire protection and other needed services but do not want our properties to fail with an unfair tax burden.  In a time when bi-partisan agreements seem hard to come by we are thankful for the leadership in the governor’s mansion and the state house to have HB 613 passed and signed into law.”

HB 613 also raises the amount that County Collector’s offices are required to collect to 2.5% on the first $350,000 to $3 million.  It also streamlines public service fees for abolished townships, allows more counties to propose a special road rock property tax, and adjusts criteria for dealing with delinquent lands.