A Republican lawmaker from St. Charles County is trying to increase the size of the so-called “circuit breaker” tax credit. The incentive is used by elderly and disabled homeowners and renters to assist with property taxes. State Rep. Mark Matthiesen, R-O’Fallon, says the amount available has not kept up with rising inflation and other costs.

“Our senior citizens are being forced back into the workforce just to make ends meet,” he told Missourinet. “But the consequence of that is people are starting to earn too much money to qualify for this program because we’re at income levels that were set 15 years ago. We need to modernize this program and bring it to today’s dollars.”

A public hearing on the bill was conducted April 4th by the House Special Committee on Tax Reform. Twenty-nine witnesses testified in person or in writing in favor of the bill. No one opposed it.

House bill 1134 is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday by the same committee.

“Our home values have way exceeded the normal inflation rate, and as your home value goes up, so does your property tax bill,” Matthiesen said. “As home values go up, your rent goes up when you’re just trying to live. That’s left us in a position where we’re not doing enough to help those at the lowest income brackets stay where they are.”

The bill would tie the circuit breaker tax credit to the consumer price index.

“People really are being forced out of their house — they’re having to downsize, they’re having to move into smaller apartments,” he said. “I hear from other representatives of some of their constituents who are living in their cars trying to find charities to help them out so they can get back into a housing situation.”

The biggest obstacle is time, as there are less than five weeks left in this year’s legislative session. It still has to be passed by the full House and Senate and sent to the governor’s desk by May 12th.

Matthiesen says he also plans to add his proposal onto any tax credit bill the Senate sends them in order to save time.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.