Laclede County asks voters to approve a reduction in taxes for commercial property owners

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 9:57 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Election day is two weeks away. One county in the Ozarks is hoping to lower taxes for some commercial property owners.

According to presiding commissioner Randy Angst Laclede County has the 14th highest surtax rate in the state of Missouri. The tax was established in 1985 without a sunset date. Now it will be up to voters whether or not that tax should be reduced.

“Usually it is when you’re increasing taxes that you hear more comment than probably when you’re reducing taxes,” he said.

Currently, Laclede County’s surtax rate for commercial property owners is $1.03 per every hundred dollars of assessed property. Other counties around the state are as low as $0.24 cents per hundred dollars.

A question on the county’s November ballot asks voters if the tax should be cut in half, down to $0.51 per hundred dollars assessed.

“The commission felt that this would give the voters an opportunity to revisit a tax from 1985. Is it still needed? Is it still appropriate? How would that continue to serve the greater good of the community,” said Angst.

Melinda Fries said, “We were very surprised because the needs of our community here in Laclede County have only increased.”

Reducing the tax rate will also cut down the revenue collected, from $950,000 a year to about $500,000 a year.

Fries said, “We just need people to understand that when they see tax cut it’s not going to be for them. This is a tax cut for very few people, who most likely do not live at or below the poverty line and many of them don’t even live in our state.”

That’s money, the library board member who’s opposed to the tax, says will negatively impact the budgets of the county’s schools, health services, and public library.

“We are already underfunded. We do need to ask for an increase but we recognize that now is not a good time to ask for an increase but it’s certainly not a good time to reduce the funds for all of these services that people are going to need, said Fries.

Angst said, “We felt like it was a reasonable question to put before the voters.”

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