By JOE MUELLER
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — If the number of bills submitted in the Missouri House of Representatives and the Senate is any indication, lots of time will be devoted to debating taxes during the next legislative session starting Jan. 5, 2022.
Approximately 10% of the 1,020 bills filed contain the word “tax” in the description. Senators filed about 40 bills and joint resolutions while representatives filed approximately 60.
More than 50 bills cover taxation and general revenue.
There are multiple bills that would authorize various tax credits for veterans. HB 1726 would authorize a tax credit for businesses owned by minorities, women or service-disabled veterans who obtain a medical marijuana dispensary license. Three joint resolutions – HJR 73, HJR 86 and HJR89 – seek an amendment to the Missouri Constitution granting property tax exemptions to certain disabled veterans.
Two bills deal with firearms. HB1577 would exempt sales of new and used firearms from sales taxes while HB2040 would authorize a tax credit to offset amounts paid in sales tax on gun safety mechanisms.
There are 16 bills addressing property taxes. A theme running through many of the bills is to freeze or reduce property tax burdens for senior citizens and service-disabled veterans.
HJR66 would ask Missouri voters to approve a constitutional amendment to prevent increases in property taxes on the primary residence of anyone 70 years or older, provided they haven’t had enough income to file state income taxes for the previous three years. HRJ72 will ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment to exempt any military veteran with a full service-connected disability to be exempt from paying property taxes on their homes.
Six bills deal with sales taxes on food or tax credits for urban farms.
HB1779 would repeal the sales tax on food and replace the lost revenue with a new estate tax. HB1817 would end local sales taxes on the retail sale of food while HB1992 would end all taxes on the retail sale of food.
Two bills deal with sales tax for household items. HB1679 would end sales taxes on diapers and HB1971 would level the retail sales tax of diapers and feminine hygiene products to the same rate as taxes on the retail sale of food.
Urban farms must be in a food desert to claim tax credits in three bills (HB1570, HB1919 and HB2020). Food deserts are defined as a census tract with a poverty rate of at least 20% or a median family income of less than 80% of the statewide average. At least 500 people or 33% of the population must be at least a quarter mile away from a full-service grocery store in an urban area. Urban farms must include community-run gardens. The urban farm tax credit programs contain a sunset clause, stopping them after six years unless reauthorized by the General Assembly.
When you purchase an automobile, HB1733 would put the burden of remitting the sales tax on the dealership where the purchase was made. If the auto loan includes the amount of the sales tax, HB1873 would require the finance companies to remit the sales tax to the department of revenue on the buyer’s behalf.