By Kathy Feist
Seniors in Missouri had reason to celebrate on July 6th when Governor Mike Parsons signed into law a Property Tax Credit for Seniors (SB190) to be implemented at the county level. But the county’s slow process to implement the tax credit has dampened any celebratory spirit.
“The outcry right now is concerning swift implementation,” says 1st District County Legislator Manny Abarca. “But getting it right is better than rushing it.”
The property tax credit is eligible for property taxpayers receiving Social Security retirement benefits. The credit would equal the difference between the amount of tax owed the current year minus the tax owed the previous year, essentially freezing the tax rate.
Jackson County’s implementation of the tax law (ordinances 5774 and 5787) have been on hold while public hearings are organized throughout the county. So far only two, one at Center High School and the other at Grandview High School, have been held in order to ascertain public opinion.
SB190, in its generalized form, leaves a lot of unwritten specifications that the counties must grapple with. Should the bill apply only to those with an income less than $500,000? Should an age limit apply to those 62 and older? For retirees such as firemen who are on pensions, not Social Security, should the law include or exclude them?
Jackson County also needs to hear from taxing jurisdictions, such as schools and libraries, that will feel the pinch once the law is passed.
“We want to provide relief for seniors,” says Abarca, who is also Chair of the Budget Committee. “But we also want a cap that is beneficial to the county.”
Abarca believes one of the county ordinances containing the SB190 law will likely pass. If so, it will have no impact until 2024. Hence his reason to take slow.
On August 28, the legislature voted to put the ordinances on hold once again. A September 11th Budget Committee meeting open to the public will be held at noon at the Courthouse Chambers on the 2nd Floor at 415 E. 12th St.