As we approach the half-way point in the 2021 legislative session, we’ve now passed the deadline for filing new Senate bills. In total, 630 bills and more than 40 resolutions have been introduced in the Senate this year. We have our work cut out for us before the session ends on May 14.
This week, two of my bills and one resolution received hearings. One measure, which I presented to the Senate General Laws Committee, is aimed at reducing burdensome government regulation. Senate Bill 180 would require any state agency adopting or amending a rule or regulation to first rescind an existing rule deemed to be unnecessary, obsolete or burdensome. Furthermore, my bill puts an automatic sunset on every state regulation. If an agency can’t justify why a rule should still be on the books, it is automatically repealed after five years.
Currently, there are more than 5,800 rules published in Missouri’s Code of State Regulations. I believe many of these are obsolete or overly burdensome. My hope is that by reducing the number of job-killing regulations we are able to create an environment that’s more favorable for Missouri small businesses. Certainly, in light of COVID-19, it’s imperative that we make it easier for businesses to reopen and get Missourians back to work.
Two measures I presented to the Senate Ways and Means Committee relate to property tax assessments. Senate Joint Resolution 12 asks voters to amend Missouri’s Constitution to give the Legislature authority to limit assessment increases, while Senate Bill 131 would enact the statute that keeps these hikes in check.
I first took an interest in runaway property assessments in 2019 after some residents of my district and elsewhere saw the taxable valuation of their homes double or, in some cases, even triple. In 2020, I proposed legislation requiring physical inspections before large increases could be imposed, and ensuring property owners have sufficient time to appeal assessment increases. Those reforms are now law.
The proposals I’m putting forth this year pick up where we left off last year. Senate Bill 131 caps property tax assessments at 5% or the rate of inflation, based on the consumer price index, whichever is greater. Missouri’s Constitution doesn’t currently allow the Legislature to cap property taxes, but SJR 12 will give voters the opportunity to grant us that power. The constitutional provision would appear on the ballot in 2022, and the statute would take effect pending the outcome of that vote.
It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at (573) 751-2183, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.