Farmers won’t see a tax hike or a tax cut under a resolution breezing to passage in the House and now in the hands of the Senate.
Representative Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown), chairman of the House Agri-Business Committee, sponsored the resolution to reject the State Tax Commission’s recommended changes in farmland assessed valuation.
“This is not the time to raise taxes on anyone,” Munzlinger told the House during debate Wednesday.
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.
If the legislature doesn’t act within the first 60 days of the session, the Tax Commission recommendations go into effect automatically. The session began January 6th.
Munzlinger’s committee rolled three separate resolutions, HCR 3, 7 and 17, into one bill. One technical amendment was added during House debate.
Rep. Ray Salva (D-Sugar Creek) told Munzlinger he approved of stopping the new tax rates from going into effect, but suggested that Munzlinger work on legislation to change the law under which the Tax Commission works. Salva argued that the commission simply followed the statute and if lawmakers want them to reach a different conclusion, they must give them the authority to do so.