Missouri seniors benefit from unanimous House vote on property tax credit rule changes

It is quite uncommon to see a unanimous vote in the Missouri House, especially when it comes to a tax bill.

During the final day of the 2024 legislative session, all members’ names appeared in green on the House voting board, specifically for Senate Bill 756. Representatives eagerly snapped photos of their laptop screens, which displayed a fully green House seating chart. Notably, there was not a single vote against the bill, which aimed to amend a property tax credit for senior citizens.

“I wasn’t really expecting everyone to agree,” said Rep. Ben Keathley, R-Chesterfield, in an interview with The Center Square. “But I was pleasantly surprised by the unanimous vote.”

In the previous legislative session, Senate Bill 190 was passed to provide relief to individuals eligible for Social Security retirement benefits by freezing their property taxes. This means that the amount owed in the current year will be adjusted to be no higher than the tax owed in the previous year, subject to county authorization. It aims to alleviate the financial burden on retirees and ensure they can maintain their quality of life.

After the bill was approved, it became clear that the credit was only available to individuals who were eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. This meant that taxpayers who were not eligible for such benefits, like teachers who contribute to retirement plans but not Social Security, were excluded from receiving the credit.

The eligibility criteria stated in this year’s bill specify that taxpayers must be 62 years of age or older.

Dennis Ganahl, the founder and managing director of MO Tax Relief Now, expressed his admiration for the bills’ successful passage.

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In an interview with The Center Square, Ganahl expressed her satisfaction with the SB 756, stating, “We are delighted with the positive impact it will have on our efforts to implement the senior tax freeze in the 40 counties we are working with.”

Keathley presented House Bill 2482, which bore similarities to Senate Bill 756 sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville.

Keathley acknowledged that there were lingering reservations and opposition to the House version of the bill. He emphasized that the vote was not unanimous, indicating that there were individuals who were not fully supportive of SB190.

As the session drew to a close, Keathley highlighted that legislators recognized the importance of the new bill.

Keathley stated that there was a realization among lawmakers that SB190 would proceed regardless of any clarifications made to the statute. Therefore, they decided that the best course of action was to clarify and expand it.

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