Saint Louis County Misses an Opportunity
The Saint Louis County Council has voted to keep its property tax rate the same, rather than lowering it in response to property assessment increases. The story is here in the Post-Dispatch and here on KMOX (via Combest). While Saint Louis County government deserves great credit for keeping its base tax rates low for a number of years now, I believe it would have sent a strong message to taxpayers and other government entities if the council had voted to lower the tax rate, even just slightly. That message would simply have been that the county would follow the spirit of the Hancock Amendment, even if the letter of the law did not require a rollback. So, now the single largest governing body in the State of Missouri, outside of state government itself, has chosen not to roll back its rates. This is unfortunate.
Come to think of it, I wonder whether the state itself rolled back its property tax rates. I would guess not, because they set a rate based on statewide reassessment, not individual counties. And with elected assessors doing the assessin’ in most of Missouri, the increases were undoubtedly far less than in Saint Louis County, with its 22 percent average increase.
I should be clear that the Saint Louis County average is probably more accurate than the elected assessor’s work, but it still needs to be reacted to with a rollback.