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Tax reform bill voted down in the Senate

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After an evening of debate, a bill seeking to gradually phase out Missouri’s personal property tax assessment rate was defeated in the Senate Monday.

As it stood at the time of the defeated perfection vote, Sen. Bill Eigel’s SB 24 would have reduced Missouri’s 33 percent personal property assessment rate at the same rate as real property rates increased on a county-by-county basis. Originally the rate would have phased out across the state after five years; Eigel offered the new version after both sides of the aisle voiced concerns over abrupt funding cuts for local communities. 

“This is my attempt to move Missouri into line with a majority of other states so that we no longer charge individuals an annual property tax for something as simple as owning their vehicle,” he said. “With record amounts of assessments and taxes coming in the door, we want to phase out personal property taxes and move the state away from that like numerous other states.”

After an initial substitute and a break to consider other legislation, Eigel said he was confident the body had come up with an adequate compromise but still saw the bill fall by a vote of 18 to 13 on a perfection vote. 

Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp and Minority Floor Leader John Rizzo spoke against the bill on the floor, decrying the effect it would have on small communities. 

“When you take $1.4 billion out of Missouri’s state budget, it’s going to have an impact,” Schupp said. “It’s going to impact these local communities on funding things like our schools, law enforcement, fire departments — I don’t know how our communities can continue to survive and thrive for the people of the community.”

Eigel’s substitute included various taxation provisions prioritized by other GOP members: ethanol use and remote learning tax credits were included in the substitute, in addition to a Capitol Complex Tax Credit for donations to renovate and maintain the statehouse.

Approved amendments included a provision from Sen. Karla May creating an Economic Distress Zone Fund to aid residents in areas of high crime and deteriorating infrastructure. Another from Sen. Steve Roberts would have allowed St. Louis to manage grant programs. 

An amendment from Sen. Lincoln Hough would have allowed Greene County to implement additional sales taxes pending ballot approval from the community and initiate a transient guest tax in Springfield.