ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — More than 200 people gathered in St. Peters for a huge issue they say could have a disastrous impact on St. Charles County.
Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) is pushing legislation that would essentially wipe out personal property taxes in St. Charles County on items like cars, trucks, and boats.
Last year, the personal property tax generated more than $100 million. The money went to school, fire, and ambulance districts, as well as libraries and municipalities.
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The agencies said what’s worse is that there’s no funding source to make up for the loss. The unique thing about all of this is that the legislation would only apply to St Charles County.
Eigel wanted to implement it statewide, but an amendment was added to his bill so that it only applied to St. Charles County.
FOX 2’s Elliott Davis caught up with Senator Eigel on Friday and asked him about that.
“I’m more than happy for St. Charles to be the leader on this issue,” Eigel said. “I think we were. I can’t be responsible for every county in the state, but I’m sure going to keep fighting for St Charles County.”
St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano has plenty of questions about this deal, saying: “That is wrong. I truly feel there’s a constitutional issue here, just to pick St Charles County. It’s interesting the rest of the state says, ‘Oh no, you can do it.’”
Chief Skip Stephens of the Cottleville Fire District said the long-term loss for the county would be huge. He says his fire district alone would lose about $8 million.
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The St. Charles County Revenue Collector said last year that personal property taxes generated $115 million for St. Charles County agencies.
Here’s a breakdown of where the money was allocated:
- $78.3 million went to the County’s 6 school districts
- $12.5 million went to 10 fire districts
- $7.4 million to municipalities
- $4.3 million to the ambulance district.
Danielle Cormella from the City of St. Charles School District said, “ We educate 60,000 students; $80 million is a ton of money.”
So far, the legislation has passed the Senate after it was tacked on to another bill. It’s now in a House Committee. It has to clear the remaining hurdle before the session ends on May 13.
Eigel said 29 other states don’t have personal property taxes, and Missouri should join them. His critics said those states may have figured out other funding sources, something they say is not included in the legislation pushed by Eigel.