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Thursday, April 10, 2008


The House of Representatives on April voted 133-19 in favor a proposed constitutional amendment that would require local governments to roll back their property tax levies following reassessment. If approved by the Senate, the measure would go on the statewide ballot in November.

Property reassessment occurs every two years. An existing constitutional provision seeks to prevent taxing jurisdictions from profiting from rising property values by requiring them to reduce their tax rates so they collect about the same amount of money as they did before reassessment, not counting the value of new construction and an inflationary adjustment. Because many jurisdictions are below their maximum authorized tax rates due to past rollbacks, however, some jurisdictions decline to reduce their rates further, resulting in higher taxes for property owners.

HJR 43 sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Portwood, R-Ballwin, would require taxing jurisdictions to roll back from the actual rate they were charging prior to reassessment instead of the higher authorized rate to close what supporters view as a constitutional loophole. Opponents say it would cost financially strapped local governments and school districts millions of dollars in tax revenue.

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