St. Louis Public Radio News
7:23 pm
Thu January 28, 2010

Mo. Senate rejects farm land reassessments

Jefferson City, Mo. – The State Tax Commission's decision to reassess property values for Missouri's farmlands is all but dead.

The Missouri Senate today overwhelmingly passed a resolution rejecting the move, which would raise the productive value of Missouri's best agricultural land by 29 percent. It would also lower the value of low-producing lots by 25 percent.

State Senator Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) says in addition to crop growers, the move would hurt cattle ranchers, even though pasture land assessments would go down.

"The feed for the livestock industry is grown on the other land, and so it's actually going to increase the cost of production, which eventually the livestock producers will pay for...so it's kind of a double-edged sword," Stouffer said.

Other supporters say it would be unfair to raise taxes on anyone, farmers included, during hard economic times.

But State Senator Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) supports the reassessments. She called the resolution a product of election year politics.

"What's being proposed here is a VERY modest increase in an area of taxing that hasn't been increased in a long, long time...86 cents on the acre, on productivity, when you're producing hundreds of bushels of corn, is not a huge increase," Bray said.

The measure now goes to the Missouri House, which passed a similar resolution Wednesday.