This summer has been very busy. In July, I was honored to be appointed to a Special Interim Tax Committee by the Speaker of the House. We started out by holding a public hearing for Jackson County in August.
During this committee hearing, we learned from constituents that the County Assessor raised values to a point of concern for many residents in the County, especially that the property owner may not be able to pay. The increases ranged from just a few percent to as much as 300-400 percent.
Within that last two weeks, we had public hearings in St. Louis and Jefferson City where there were very similar concerns. As we draw near the end of our hearings, we will conclude with a final report to the Governor.
Unfortunately, no action will happen before the end of the year; however, this issue has sparked much debate on what we will do as a General Assembly going into the 2020 Session. Stay tuned for my personal legislation to help ease these concerns moving forward.
House Approves Special Session Bill to Address Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Issue (HB 1)
Lawmakers returned to Jefferson City to work on a pro-consumer bill that would allow Missourians to reduce their tax burden when they trade in multiple vehicles. House members gave approval to a legislative fix this week during a special session called by Gov. Mike Parson.
The governor called the special session to give lawmakers an opportunity to fix a state statute to allow the sales proceeds of more than one vehicle, trailer, boat, or outboard motor to be used as a credit against the sales tax owed on the purchase of another.
The fix is necessary because a ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court clarified that the sales proceeds of only one vehicle may be used as a credit against the sales tax owed on the purchase of a new vehicle. The sponsor of the bill told her colleagues, “When the Supreme Court ruled on this matter, they in essence enacted a judiciary tax raise on the citizens of our state.”
The governor’s call for a special session gave legislators an opportunity to amend state law to allow for the sale of multiple vehicles to be used as a credit. The bill approved by the House is in line with the Department of Revenue's prior practice and what consumers have come to expect.
The bill’s sponsor cited several examples of Missourians who would benefit from the new law including a young mother trading in two older cars for a newer, more reliable vehicle; or senior citizens who are trading in vehicles as they try to downsize. “This bill benefits all Missourians from all walks of life whether you are in the city, the country, or the suburban areas,” she said.
The Missouri House approved the bill by a vote of 126-21. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. House members anticipate the Senate will approve the bill by the end of the week.
House and Senate Complete Annual Veto Session
On the same day the legislature worked in special session to address the vehicle sales tax issue, lawmakers also held their constitutionally-mandated veto session. The legislature meets each year in September in accordance with the Missouri Constitution to consider bills approved by the legislature but vetoed by the governor. It is during the Veto Session that members of the House and Senate have the opportunity to put legislation into effect as law despite the governor’s objections.
Coming in to the annual Veto Session, the Missouri General Assembly had a total of six vetoed bills to consider for potential overrides. While Gov. Mike Parson signed the bulk of the bills sent to him by the legislature, he did veto two House bills and four Senate bills. The vetoed bills ranged in subject matter from regulations for outdoor cremations to qualifications for the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services.
While the legislature has been active in overriding vetoes during the last decade, this year’s Veto Session saw none of the governor’s vetoes overridden. In the history of the state, the legislature has overridden the governor 119 times. Of those overrides, 49 have been on budget line-items and 70 have been on non-appropriations bills. Prior to the administration of Gov. Jay Nixon the legislature had completed only 22 veto overrides. During Nixon’s eight years in office, the Missouri General Assembly overrode 97 of his vetoes.
‘Back the Blue’ Missouri License Plate Unveiled (HB 898)
Law enforcement officials and lawmakers came together this week to unveil a new license plate that will give Missourians an opportunity to show their support for the men and women who protect and serve. Missouri drivers now have the option to obtain a new “Back the Blue” license plate to express their support for law enforcement.
The unveiling ceremony took place at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial on the river side of the State Capitol Building. Legislators were joined by several members of the law enforcement community, as well as Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten and Missouri Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson.
David and Beverly Thomas, who are the parents of Officer Molly Thomas Bowden, assisted in unveiling the Back the Blue license plate. Bowden was a Columbia Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2005.
A $10 contribution will be collected from each license plate applicant for the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, which honors those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the citizens of Missouri. This will help ensure the memorial continues to stand in memory of Missouri’s fallen law enforcement officers. Those who want the plate will also pay a $15 fee in addition to normal registration costs. Missourians interested in obtaining one of the new plates can apply for them online at the Department of Revenue’s website at https://dor.mo.gov/motorv/plates/personalize.php.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if I may be of service. Thank you for the privilege to serve and the honor to represent the 32nd District!