March 23, 2024

Throughout the tax debacle in Jackson County since 2019, it is evident that two groups of taxpayers hit the hardest are low-income families and senior citizens. Our community should be aware of homeowners falling into both categories.

Year after year, our elected officials provide little to no relief for senior citizens on fixed incomes who struggle to live in an economy with unsustainable tax policies. In 2024, some leaders in Missouri, from local and state levels, have been proactive in addressing this issue. The Jackson County Legislature passed Ordinance 5787 in September of last year, following Missouri Senate Bill 190 (SB190). The Jackson County Senior Citizen Tax Credit Program opened to applicants in March of this year. SB190 offers a tax credit to senior citizens eligible for Social Security Retirement benefits. Eligible applicants must provide proof of residence, property ownership, and a statement from the Department of Social Security demonstrating eligibility. Notably, seniors do not have to be receiving benefits to qualify for this credit, only be eligible.

Sadly, LSR7 President Rodney Sparks opposes this legislation. Last August, Mr. Sparks publicly testified before Jackson County legislators that they should delay enacting this vitally important tax relief for Missourians. There are amendments on SB190 that would help more seniors get this credit including those that do not receive social security retirement. But with the threat of school districts suing counties, we can only hope those amendments pass.

Taxpayers watch these same initiatives passing in the House each year, only to have their progress stall in the Senate. The Missouri House of Representatives has passed HJR79 and HJR68, mandating that all assessors in the state be elected rather than appointed. Jackson County is the sole county in Missouri with an appointed assessor. Jeff Coleman’s HJR78 has also cleared the House, limiting property assessment increases for any county. If enacted, this legislation would cap assessment hikes at 2% annually or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. These bills, particularly HJR78, would provide relief to all Missourians, including senior citizens. Both bills await scheduling for a hearing in the Missouri Senate. I encourage you to reach out to your Missouri State Senator and urge them to give priority to these important bills and amendments.

Steve Lambert
Lee’s Summit, MO