Property taxes, which are collected each year on the assessed value of your home, are a fact of life. As a City resident, you only get one bill, but that bill actually collects the revenue due to more than a dozen different local jurisdictions. Some of the property tax revenue is used to fund City operations, like public safety and public health; the rest is used by a wide range of other taxing jurisdictions, including the public school district (which gets, by far, the largest amount), the Zoo and the Art Museum, the public library, and the community college system. All of these separate jurisdictions collect taxes using the same City tax notice.
The City of St. Louis is required under state law to reassess property every two years so that property assessments are equalized. That necessarily means some people’s tax bills will go up, while others’ will go down. As property values rise, all of the rates are supposed to be rolled back by the different jurisdictions to ensure that taxes don’t grow faster than the cost of living. But, some jurisdictions don’t always roll back their rates, and so they collect what amounts to a tax increase. That’s a big issue.
That’s why I will support legislation in Jeff City this session to require local jurisdictions to roll to back tax rates for their operating levies. I will also lobby for tax relief for seniors on fixed incomes by expanding the Homestead Preservation Tax Credit and the Circuit Breaker refund.
Occasionally, the City must raise taxes to provide the police, fire, and other services needed to make our neighborhoods strong. But, voters should be given an informed choice, not back-door tax increases that undermine confidence in government.