2 min read
Posted on 11.17.07
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 11.17.07

Tax bills go up, because the municipal services - police, fire, parks, education, etc. - they pay for get more expensive. That’s a fact of civic life. Most people understand that, and are willing to keep paying the bills as long the services are effective and efficient, and as long as the taxing process is fair and transparent.

One of the most fundamental taxes we pay is on our property. The two components of the property tax are the value of the property and the rate of the tax. The change in a property’s value is established by a process called reassessment.

The state’s property tax reassessment process contains a mechanism to cushion property owners from the effects of increased assessments. The process allows taxing jurisdictions to roll back tax rates when property values rise sharply so that tax bills grow slower than assessments.

Not every jurisdiction does that.

State Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons has said he believes that some local taxing jurisdictions, including the county, have not rolled back their rates, even though the total assessed value of property in St. Louis county has gone up 22.38 percent in the past year. Critics are calling it a “secret” tax increase. Sen. Gibbons is promising legislative relief.

Between 2001 and 2007, St. Louis City government has rolled back its portion of property tax rates by 10.79 percent. After adjusting for inflation, that is the maximum roll back given the valuation of both personal property tax and real estate.