Taxes From the Kelley Blue Book
I was in a particularly bitter mood this morning after mailing off my personal property tax bill for my car. It will never cease to amaze me that Missouri taxes me for owning something that depreciates in value each year. That’s just adding insult to injury. In addition, more than 60 percent of the revenue from personal property taxes goes toward supporting the local school district, which has absolutely no connection to my car’s value. Put differently, it makes sense to me that revenue from residential and commercial property taxes goes towards supporting local school districts because the value of the property is indirectly tied to the quality of the school system. But personal property taxes on cars should be used to finance general city government, or, preferably, road maintenance/infrastructure. In my opinion, the closer you can get to a user tax, the better.
That’s a rant, but it prompted me to comment on an even greater source of property tax abuse in Missouri the practice of increasing tax revenue through reassessment.
An article in this morning’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch draws attention to this abuse, and the outrage local property owners are expressing. Essentially, Missouri’s two-year reassessment statute allows local governments to raise property taxes indirectly by keeping the tax rate the same, but overvaluing individual property values. This has become an all-too-common problem in the state.
One solution that has been proposed is to introduce legislation which would require local jurisdictions to reduce property tax rates in tandem with any increase in assessed value, so that the actual revenue remains constant. This would require local governments to approve tax increases through a vote, rather than through the current back-end approach.
I think this is a great idea. Of course, it still doesn’t help me with my particular tax irritation …