PLATTE CITY, Mo. — While residents across the Kansas City metro are trying to figure out what to do after getting some higher property tax assessments, county leaders are taking the early steps to implement a helping hand for senior citizens.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson just signed Senate Bill 190 into law, and it officially takes effect at the end of August.
“It would freeze the amount that a senior pays when they turn 62, or they’re eligible for social security,” State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer said. “They would freeze at that rate, and they would never go up in the future.”
Luetkemeyer said the bill would also get rid of income tax for social security payments, bringing Missouri in line with the vast majority of states. The property tax credit for seniors is what’s catching residents’ attention because higher tax payments can make it harder to budget.
“When you’re on one income, and it’s not very much, it’s really rough,” Platte County resident Freda Rhodes said.
She got an assessment increase two years ago and then another one this past year, making her doubt if she would be able to keep what she calls, “the dream home she could afford.”
“I just don’t know if my retirement money is going to cover this expense and how long I’m going to be able to stay here,” Rhodes said.
Platte County Commissioner Dagmar Wood said Rhodes is hardly alone.
“We’ve even had some homeowners who have been in their homes for decades and who are on that fixed income talk about, they might have to sell their home,” Wood said.
County leaders in each of Missouri’s 114 counties have to implement the bill for their senior citizen residents to benefit.
Right now, Platte County is assembling a working group to figure out what needs to happen to create an application process for seniors. The hope is that application process would open up in time for the 2024 tax bills to reflect the capped payments.
“We’re getting our logistical ducks in a row so that when this does pass, we are ready to hit the ground running,” Wood said.
Jackson County leaders started having similar conversations Monday, and Luetkemeyer said he’s spoken with county leaders in other communities about what it would take to do the same there.
“It seems more doable,” Rhodes said. “I’m not as frightened if my air conditioning goes out or my washing machine. Maybe I’ll be able to save money through the year to accommodate those expenses.”