Protecting Property Rights and Returning Taxes
As we approach the end of the 2022 legislative session, the Missouri Senate took two major actions that will have a direct impact for all Missourians. In one vote, the Senate pushed back against private companies that attempt to take private property by force. Another bill before the Senate will return a portion of the state’s current funding windfall directly to taxpayers.
House Bill 2005 — Property rights are among our most treasured and fundamental liberties, and are protected by both the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions. There are rare occasions, though, when these rights are outweighed by projects of public good. It is one thing for the state to use its eminent domain power to condemn private land when building a road or damming a river. It’s something entirely different when a for-profit company wields this big stick for private gain. Such was the case recently when an out-of-state utility company sought to build a high-voltage electric transmission line across northern Missouri. House Bill 2005 will raise the bar for future attempts to use eminent domain powers by requiring developers to pay above-market prices when these procedures are allowed to proceed. The bill enshrines into statute property right protections for our farmers that will protect them from private corporations taking their land without fair value compensation. I was proud to vote for this legislation, and want to thank my Senate colleagues for their leadership in making sure this legislation continued to move, as well as our agriculture groups who fought to protect the Ozarks.
House Bill 2090 — While considering a routine House Bill that modified paycheck timetables for state employees, the Senate included an amendment that will send Missouri taxpayers a tax refund during this time of unprecedented funding in our state budget. As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, Missouri is currently experiencing a record budget surplus due to pandemic relief and infrastructure investment programs passed by Congress, as well as healthy tax revenues fueled by the state’s pro-business economy. This year, the Legislature voted to give some of this money back to the people. House Bill 2090 now includes a tax credit of up to $500 for every Missourian earning less than $150,000 annually. Married couples filing jointly with a combined income of less than $300,000 could qualify for a $1,000 tax credit. The language approved by the Senate includes protections to ensure that no taxpayer receives more money back than they paid in. What that means is a person who owes only $1 in state income taxes would only receive a $1 credit, not the full $500 or $1,000.
With just one week left of session, the Missouri Senate continues to pass good, responsible legislation that is true to our values. There’s a lot of work left to do in the next week, but I am committed to working hard to ensure the voice of the Ozarks continues to be heard on the Senate floor.
It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011. You can also visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.