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Debate Starts on Fairness of Farmland Values

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri farmland tax values have not increased since 1996 because the legislature has voided state tax commission recommendations. The legislature is considering allowing small increases.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri farmland tax values have not increased since 1996 because  the legislature has voided state tax commission recommendations.  The legislature is considering allowing small increases  although several members are questioning the fairness of the plan.

Missouri farmland value is based on its productivity value, not its market value.  But every time the tax commission has recommended increases, agricultural interests have convinced the legislature to veto them.

Senator Brian Munzlinger of Lewistown proposes a law (SB 543) allowing productivity values to be increased by no more than five percent every two years, or no more than fifteen percent in ten years.  He points out that farmers pay regular real estate taxes on their homes and on their vehicles and equipment. 

But he says factors that can cause production values to vary widely argue against the tax commission setting rates that remain un-changed for two years.

But several senators question the fairness of Munzlinger’s proposal.  One of them is Senator Brad Lager, whose district includes about half of north Missouri’s rich farmland.

He says commercial and industrial proeprty owners who have seen their taxes “skyrocket” in the last twenty years hate Munzlinger’s proposal, telling colleagues,  “You talk to the true business guys, (they say) ‘This farm stuff’s got to stop.’  When you talk to the farmers…it’s like ‘you’ve got to do more of this because we don’t want to pay taxes like everybody else.’…There’s no longer logic and rational behavior around this topic.”

Senators will continue debating whether Munzlinger’s plan is fair to people other than farmers.


(Bob Priddy, Missourinet)


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