Members of the Missouri House have moved quickly to reject a tax hike on Missouri farmers, or a tax cut. Which, depends largely on where you live in the state and what ground is farmed.
The House rejected on a 140-to-15 vote a proposal by the State Tax Commission that would have increased taxes on Missouri’s best cropland by 30%, but would have cut taxes on pasture land by 24%.
Rep. Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown), chairman of the House Agri-Business Committee, sponsored the resolution arguing that, on balance, the commission proposed an 11% overall tax increase on agricultural land.
“So, even though you’re lowering the taxes on some (land), you’re raising it on actually the higher valued ground at a higher percent which brings us up to that 11% tax increase statewide,” according to Munzlinger.
One of the 15 state representatives voting against the measure was Rep. Maynard Wallace (R-Thornfield), who represents a lot of livestock producers in southern Missouri who would have benefitted from a tax cut.
“The farm organizations that represent farmers in this state are predominantly controlled by the row crop farmer rather than the poor ole’ boys that run a few cows, put up a little hay and buy that high-priced grain,” Wallace told reporters after the vote.
The legislature has 60 days to keep the commission recommendation from going into effect. The resolution now moves to the Senate.
The commission recommends a 30% tax increase on the top four categories of farmland, mostly the state’s best cropland, but not necessarily confined to row crops. Some is in pasture. The commission recommends a 24% tax decrease on three categories of the least valuable Missouri farmland. The commission made its recommendation based on a FAPRI study that indicated the productive value of cropland had risen with the rise of the ethanol industry. A depressed livestock industry led the commission to recommend the tax cut for pasture land. Farmland is assessed based on its productive value.