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Unanimous House vote changes property tax credit rules for Missouri seniors

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(The Center Square) – A unanimous vote in the Missouri House is rare, especially on a tax bill.

But names of all members appeared in green on the House voting board on Friday, the last day of the 2024 legislative session, for Senate Bill 756. Representatives grabbed cell phones to take photos of their laptop screens showing the House seating chart was completely green. There wasn’t a single ‘no’ vote in red for bill to modify a property tax credit for senior citizens,

“I wasn’t necessarily expecting a unanimous vote,” Rep. Ben Keathley, R-Chesterfield, said in an interview with The Center Square. “I was happy to see it.”

Last year, Senate Bill 190, passed late in the 2023 session, froze property taxes for those eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. If authorized by the county, the credit equals the difference between the amount owed the current year minus the tax owed the previous year.

But soon after the bill was passed, it became apparent the requirement for the credit for only those eligible for Social Security retirement benefits excluded taxpayers who weren’t eligible for those benefits, such as teachers who contribute to retirement plans but not Social Security.

This year’s bill states the eligible taxpayers is 62 years of age or older.

Dennis Ganahl, founder and managing director of MO Tax Relief Now, praised the bills’ passage.

“We’re very happy with the SB 756,” Ganahl told The Center Square. “It’s going to help us help the 40 counties we’re working with to get the senior tax freeze implemented.”

Keathley introduced House Bill 2482, which was similar to Senate Bill 756, sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville.

“There was still some opposition to it,” Keathley said. “I don’t think it was a unanimous vote when the House version came out. I think there was a lot of hold over, people who weren’t necessarily in agreement with SB190.”

But as the session came to an end, Keathley said legislators saw the necessity for the new bill.

“When you get to this point and we’re sending bills to the governor’s desk, I think there was a realization that SB190 is going to continue whether or not we make the necessary clarifications to the statute,” Keathley said. “So if it’s going to go forward, the best thing we can do is clarify it and make sure it’s expanded.”

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