Below, Senator Crowell brings to light yet another fiefdom in the Missouri Bureaucracy…
— The Keep-It-Complex-Stupid Tax Commission. —
…’Eight Categories based on Land Quality blah blah blah’ and ‘Valuation Increase from $985 an Acre to $1,065 an Acre yada yada yada’.
So, just how many people does it take in this tax bureaucracy to track eight categories of land quality and valuation changes per acre? How about we fire them from the government and hire them into the ‘real’ economy?
The Founders enacted a system by which taxation is distributed equally among the people. THREE times the Founder’s asserted that taxation be distributed equally among the people.
The Constitution’s references to taxation:
Article I, Section 2, Clause 3:
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…
Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:
The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…
Article I, Section 9, Clause 4:
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
We suspect they felt that method of taxation was best for the States as well, and Missouri needs to follow the Founders’ lead. The answer is a consumption tax and a Free Market system… …not a bunch of games with a taxpayer funded Missouri State Tax Commission.
Senator Crowell’s Capitol Report:
Attention Southeast Missouri Farmers
What Do YOU Think?
Agriculture is Missouri’s No. 1 industry and the backbone of our state economy. We rank second in the country for number of farms, and agricultural goods are one of our main exports. How Missouri’s farms fare is often tied, or even attributable, to how our state fares.
Agriculture is more than simply an industry in Missouri, though; it’s a way of life, a core part of our state identity. Families have been farming Southeast Missouri for almost 300 years, and it is my hope they will be given that opportunity for centuries to come.
It is important we foster and protect agriculture in Missouri. Farming is a volatile business, and farmers are at the mercy of the weather, a constantly shifting market and overhead costs that are rising.
Now, with a decision by the State Tax Commission, they’re facing a tax reassessment. The State Tax Commission voted in December 2011 to raise assessment values on the most productive farms in Missouri by approving new productivity values, the evaluation of a land’s potential earnings. Productivity values are used to calculate a farm’s property taxes, so any increase results in higher property taxes for those farmers.
Missouri farmland is split into eight categories based on land quality. The best quality is grade one, with the worst being grade eight. The Commission’s decision would increase productivity values on farmland grades one through four by 8 percent, or an average of 18 cents per acre. A property that produces the most dependable crop yields would see its valuation raise from $985 an acre to $1,065 an acre.
I need you to seriously consider if this is the time to make this type of change. What do you think? The economy is still unstable, and production costs have steadily risen in recent years. Farms all over Missouri continue to struggle. Last year was particularly devastating, as severe weather flooded farmlands in parts of the state and excessive heat led to rampant drought in others. More than 100 counties were declared disaster areas.
However, the last time the productivity values on farms were raised was 1995. And non-farm related property taxes have raised dramatically during the same time period. There may be a legitimate argument for adjusting these values, considering the commission evaluates them every two years but has not increased the values in 17 years. In that time, the overall Missouri Net Farm Income has nearly doubled. And, this value increase will only affect higher-quality land, farms that should, in theory, be doing better than others.
Two years ago the commission sought to increase the productivity values by 29 percent. I filed a Senate Concurrent Resolution to prevent this from happening, which successfully passed, blocking the increase. This year, Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, has filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 19, a similar measure that would stop the commission from raising the values this year, 2012. If the Senate is to block the commission’s decision, though, we must act quickly. The Legislature must pass the resolution within 60 days to block reassessment.
I am asking for your thoughts on this issue. It can be easy to get caught up in the swell of data and statistics surrounding an issue, so your opinions mean the most to me; I look forward to hearing from you.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.
Certainly, we don’t want to raise taxes at a time when Missouri’s economy is so fragile, so Senator Crowell and the Missouri Tax Commission should hear a resounding, ‘NO!’
But, let’s also ask Senator Crowell and his fellow legislators to fight at the root of the problem. Stand up and stop the tax gimmicks. Rid us of the corrupt Income and Property Tax system in favor of a tax on consumption… …equally distributed among the people.
THAT is social justice.
Then, we won’t need someone sitting in some cubicle calculating categories and productivity values. If the land is good, it will grow more; it will sell more; it will be taxed more.
If you need a better reason to vote for the Missouri Taxpayer Releief Act, you won’t find one.