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Missouri Legislature passes fix to senior property tax freeze law

Homes are seen during a LightHawk flight on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, in Tower Grove. St. Louis landlords filed 10.8% more evictions in 2023 than in 2022.
Eric Lee
St. Louis Public Radio
Homes are seen during a LightHawk flight on April 24 in St. Louis' Tower Grove South neighborhood. The legislation now allows for anyone 62 or older to qualify for a property tax freeze.

One year after they passed the original legislation, Missouri legislators have approved a fix to a law allowing property tax freezes for seniors.

Members of the House voted 139-0 Friday to pass the bill. Since it has already gone through the Senate, it now goes to Gov. Mike Parson.

The current law allows local governments to pass ordinances that would freeze property taxes for seniors. It also would allow voters to approve such an ordinance.

St. Charles and St. Louis counties, as well as the City of St. Louis, have already passed their own ordinances on the issue.

The way the law is structured now, only seniors who receive Social Security would be eligible for a property tax freeze. That requirement has left out seniors who are on pensions like police officers and firefighters.

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, sponsored both the original bill and the changes this session.

“Rather than tying eligibility of the property tax freeze to Social Security eligibility, we instead tied it just to age,” Luetkemeyer said.

Rep. Ben Keathley, R-Chesterfield, said the legislature did the first part of the job last year.

“Now it’s time to make sure that this language clarifies and we can properly expand this to make sure all our seniors can benefit,” Keathley said.

The freeze would still only be applicable in municipalities that have approved an ordinance.

One provision that some Democrats wanted to add this session was a means test, under which seniors with higher incomes would not qualify for the freeze.

That language was not added to the final bill.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.