Missouri House Passes Property Tax Cut Aimed at Offsetting Surge in Vehicle Values

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri residents could see a roughly $138 million tax break under legislation passed Thursday by the House in an attempt to offset a recent surge in local tax collections caused by higher vehicle values.

The legislation changing the way Missouri’s personal property tax collections are calculated comes as lawmakers in numerous states this year are considering ways to reduce property taxes charged on homes, real estate and other property.

Home values have risen at a faster-than-normal pace in recent years. Vehicle values typically decline as cars and trucks get older, but used vehicle values also rose during the coronavirus pandemic because of supply shortages. That resulted in higher tax bills for many people in states that allow property taxes on vehicles.

Republican state Rep. Mike McGirl said his Missouri legislation, which now goes to the Senate, would return to taxpayers about a quarter of the “windfall” that local governments received from the surge in vehicle values. Legislative analysts said that could amount to about $138 million, effective in 2026.

The bill “will ultimately mean less tax revenue for our schools (and) for public safety,” said Democratic Rep. Peter Merideth, who opposed the measure.

The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit group that researches taxes, has said property taxes are likely to be the biggest tax issue in many state legislatures this year.

Several states already have enacted property tax cuts. West Virginia last year passed a credit for personal property taxes that residents pay annually on vehicles, at an estimated cost of $157 million to the state.

Colorado lawmakers meeting in a November special session approved legislation increasing residential deductions for property tax purposes and decreasing the property tax assessment rate. In Texas, voters in November approved a plan cutting property taxes by $18 billion.