Paying Their Taxes

People lined up in December outside the county collector's office to pay their real estate and personal property taxes before the Dec. 31 deadline.

Franklin County property owners will likely see a tax increase this year as local governments across Missouri face funding cuts from the Missouri Legislature.

Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said county commissioners will likely have to look at increasing the county’s property tax rates this year to offset some of the cuts.

Griesheimer this week said Gov. Jay Nixon has promised to veto a bill which would restore some of the cuts.

House Bill 2100 would have changed the wording regarding motor vehicle laws to restore a funding cut by a Missouri Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.

That ruling said that cities and counties can’t collect sales taxes on vehicle and trailer sales if the purchase was made out of state or if it was between two private individuals.

Griesheimer estimated previously that the ruling will cost Franklin County over $1 million in sales tax revenue a year.

Auditor Tammy Vemmer said this week that the state also has cut other funding to counties, including reducing the funding for health departments across the state from $10 million a year to $5 million.

Some lawmakers in Jefferson City also are considering a reduction in the state’s per-parcel reimbursement rate paid to county assessors from $3.41 to $3.

Commissioner Terry Wilson said counties and local governments will feel the cuts the deepest.

“The state continues to balance its budget on others’ backs. It gets to the point of being ridiculous,” Wilson said. “If we could get the state off our . . ., we’d be fine.”

The Missouri House passed a $24 billion budget in March, which would have kept assessment maintenance and the per diem the state pays to county jails for holding prisoners at their current levels.

That budget was rejected by the Senate last week following holdups from nine Republican senators.

Those senators caused the budget, which had a projected $16 million surplus balance in the state’s general revenue fund, to instead have an overall $4 million shortfall.

Twelve of the 13 Senate appropriation bills — which together make up the state’s budget — were rejected by the House this week.

Some of those rejected provisions include cutting more than $3 million from the state’s tourism budget and restoring $28 million in pensions to the blind in the Department of Social Services budget.

Lawmakers have until the end of the session — May 18, according to state constitutional limits — to approve the budget bills.

That means there are only about 10 regular working days left, as lawmakers only meet in open session four days a week, Mondays through Thursdays.