Saline County Assessor explains initiative petition saying it is not what people think

Friday, November 22, 2019

County Assessor Jessica Goodman provided information on the initiative petition which is currently circulating to remove personal property from taxes in the state of Missouri. She wanted to educate any and all fellow citizens of Saline County stating this petition is not what some people think it is.

After the Saline County Commission called a meeting to order on Thursday, Nov. 21, Goodman offered to provide some insight on the recent initiative petition to prohibit personal taxes on personal property.

“While a lot of people think that this is a good move, they have been calling this initiative a wolf in sheep's clothing,” she explained. “If it sounds too good, it probably is too good to be true.”

Goodman noted by eliminating personal property taxes this will lead to other taxes, like real estate, to increase. She stated not only will this affect real estate, but it will drastically affect revenue for fire and ambulance districts, as well.

“I guess I just want to tell the community if you sign the petition please keep in mind that your real estate will continue to always rise while your personal property will always continue to decrease,” Goodman said. “Keep in mind that this will affect our districts, our county, our fire districts, and our ambulance districts. All of those districts will lose a significant amount of revenue once the voters decide — if they decide — to get rid of personal property.”

Goodman added if the initiative petition gets on the 2020 ballot, she would like for everyone to be aware of what this petition actually means and what will happen if people consider to vote for it.

“Another scenario is that their license and registration could really increase and right now I think you pay — I don't know — 30-40 bucks a year for tags and license — this is going to significantly effect your real estate,” she explained. “So if you look at Texas, who does not have personal property, their license and registration is extremely higher, as well as their real estate taxes.”

Southern Commissioner Monte Fenner expressed the same concern about this petition.

“We were told that a lot of people believe that if this gets on the ballot it will probably pass,” he said. “It's really serious especially for counties our size.”

“And even if you don't own real estate and you rent, you're looking at your — the person who owns the home you rent — their going to have to increase your rent just to afford the taxes on the real estate,” Goodman noted. “So, I mean it is really going to effect everybody in one way or the other. I guess the people need to decide if they're willing to do that or continue to pay personal property.”

Fenner mentioned the MAC conference a few people from the Saline County Courthouse attended from Nov. 18-19. He stated the conference had an example for what would happen if the initiative petition was approved.

“One example they gave at that meeting was a retired couple, and at this time they're paying $1,450 for the real estate,” Fenner explained. “Their car's 12 years old, they're only paying $20 for it. So, if this goes into effect that $20 just goes away, but the real estate goes up double.”

“If anybody has any questions about it feel free to call me,” Goodman said. “If they want to discuss it and understand it a little more I know that the commissioners were also in that meeting, so I think they probably heard the same thing I did. I don't want the citizens of Saline County to suffer because this passes. You know it's hard enough to pay your taxes now.”

In other news, County Clerk Debbie Russell explained she had been trying to find a new polling place for residents in the Sweet Springs area. She was glad to report that after a long time searching the county finally has a set location.

“Under the current circumstances I have been looking for another polling facility to accommodate those voters in that area,” Russell explained. “And after looking around and talking to different places and different people, the American Legion Post 279 is our new location for our Sweet Springs voters. I want to thank all the legion members and Al Hartmann for working with me to get this poll together, so that's a big relief.”

After Russell's report, Northern Commissioner Stephanie Gooden went over the county's additions and abatements.

“We've got a report for 10-1 through 10-31,” she said. “For real estate additions, we have $3.59 and for personal property we have $6,874.53.”

The commission approved the additions and abatements.

The commission received a request from Treasurer Marty Smith to transfer $7,332.17 into the CERF fund. The commission accepted Smith's request.

Collector Cindi Sims requested to hire two seasonal tax employees part time for $10 an hour. The commission approved Sims' request.

Lastly, the commission received a letter of destruction from Building and Grounds Supervisor Bill Sleeper. Sleeper requested to destroy an ML 350 Server HP, a steel string trimmer, and two steel leaf blowers. The commission approved Sleeper's letter.

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