Good News on Property Taxes in St. Charles and Clay Counties
Used car prices have risen dramatically over the past few years. That will hit Missouri car owners hard in the tax column this year. Car owners are used to seeing the taxable value of their used cars decline slightly each year, but with used car values increasing, personal property taxes will rise substantially.
According to information I have received, personal property tax revenues are expected to increase by more than 20 percent in the following counties: St Louis, Jackson, Warren, Lincoln, Cape Girardeau, St. Charles, and St. Louis City. St. Charles County is taking the lead here; the county council passed a resolution declaring its intention to reduce the personal property tax rate this fall (after final numbers are in) to a revenue-neutral level to offset the large increase in assessed valuations. Good for them. Many local governments in Missouri need to follow this example, especially school districts, which receive the bulk of your property tax payments. Increased used car valuations should not be a revenue windfall for local governments.
I commend the St. Charles County Council and the county executive for this move. Hopefully others will follow the example of St. Charles County. I would love to see Hancock Amendment rollback provisions extended to personal property in the future. (Now they only apply to land and buildings.)
On the other side of the state, Clay County is moving forward with the first commercial surcharge property tax reduction in Missouri history. The county commission approved placing it before the voters on the November ballot. Clay County has one of the highest commercial surcharges in the state, and this proposal for a modest reduction to match Jackson County’s level is a smart, reasonable one. (For the reasons why the rate can only be lowered by voters, why Clay County’s rate is so high, and more history of this special tax, please read this.)
I also commend the Clay County Commission and the rest of the Clay County leadership team for putting this proposal before the voters of their community. There are a few other counties that I think need to strongly consider reducing their commercial surcharge taxes—I’m looking at you, Perry County.