Owners of the best agricultural lands in Missouri will not see their taxes going up in 2017 and 2018.
The Missouri House and Senate have both passed a measure blocking a 5 percent tax hike on lands graded "1 through 4." That amounts to one-third of the state's most productive farmlands. The increase was authorized in December by the State Tax Commission and would have automatically taken effect without legislative action to stop it.
There are eight grades of agricultural land in Missouri, with "1" at the top and "8" at the bottom. Grades 1 through 4 comprise land used for growing row crops and high-producing pasture lands, generally used by ranchers.
Republican Mike Parson of Polk County, who also raises cattle, carried the bill in the Senate.
"Farmers are farmers in this state, and when you start dividing it up and trying to charge one group of farmers more than other groups of farmers on taxes, it's not the right way to do (it)," he said. "The way we did it two years ago, when there was a tax increase, it was for all farmers, not one exemption, one from the other."
House Concurrent Resolution 58 passed the House 133-24 on Jan. 20, and the Senate passed it on Thursday 29-2. Despite bipartisan support, some Democrats said the scheduled tax hike could have provided more funding to public schools.
The tax hike rejection does not need Gov. Jay Nixon's signature.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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