Thursday, February 28, 2008

Senate’s Property Tax Reform Bill Advances to House

JEFFERSON CITY — The much-anticipated property tax reform bill, Senate Bill 711, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons (R-Kirkwood), was given final approval by the full Senate today. It now moves on to the House for similar consideration.

Senate Bill 711 mandates that all taxing jurisdictions, regardless of whether they are operating at or below their tax rate ceiling, must roll back their tax rate to counter reassessment increases. Currently, only taxing jurisdictions operating at their tax rate ceiling are required by Missouri's Constitution to roll back to protect taxpayers, leaving taxing jurisdictions operating below their ceiling to approve back door tax increases with no legal recourse.

The legislation would also close a loophole that has allowed taxing districts to apply new voter-approved levies to future and unknown assessments. For example, under the current law, taxing jurisdictions can take a tax increase approved by the voters in 2006 and then apply that new tax rate to the higher reassessed value in 2007.

It also requires that taxpayers receive a projected tax liability statement along with their reassessment notices. Charter counties would provide these in 2009, with all other counties participating by 2011. Additionally, SB 711 increases the Senior Citizen Property Tax credit award from $750 to $1,100, and expands those eligible to include homeowners with an income of up to $30,000 for singles and $40,000 for married couples.

For more information about the events and legislation in the Missouri Senate, visit www.senate.mo.gov. To contact Senate Communications, dial (573) 751-3824 or send an e-mail to newsroom@senate.mo.gov.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Missouri Returning Heroes' Education Act Initially Approved by Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — Senate Bill 830, or the Missouri Returning Heroes’ Education Act, sponsored by Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis), today (2/13) received first round approval by the full Senate.

The measure limits the tuition a public Missouri university or college may charge to certain combat veterans to no more than $50 per credit hour for programs that culminate in either the earning of a certificate, or an associate or bachelor’s degree. For veterans to participate in the program, they must have served in armed combat after September 11, 2001, been Missouri residents when they first entered the military and been discharged from their service under honorable conditions.

One stipulation of the act requires veterans to maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average to continue receiving the tuition reduction. Also, the benefit expires 10 years after the veteran’s last discharge from service.

If the Senate gives the bill final approval, it will move to the House for similar consideration. Joint passage moves the bill to the governor.

For more information about the events and legislation in the Missouri Senate, visit www.senate.mo.gov. To contact Senate Communications, dial (573) 751-3824 or send an e-mail to newsroom@senate.mo.gov.