4 You: As the push for ending personal property tax continues, St. Charles County non-profit showcases tax dollars in action

Special tax districts and non-profits are paying close attention to the conversations in Jefferson City surrounding the future of the personal property tax.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:53 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Dozens of special tax districts and non-profits are paying close attention to the conversations in Jefferson City surrounding the future of the personal property tax.

The Boone Center in St. Peters is a non-profit that seeks to enrich the lives of adults with disabilities and their families by providing a choice of productive and fulfilling employment. It employs more than 250 people in its packaging facility, the funding source of 85% of BCI’s annual budget. The remaining 15% of the budget is comprised of county and state tax dollars allocated by the Developmentally Disabled Resource Board and DESI.

“We use that money specifically to support the growth and development of adults with disabilities and we do that by employing employment support specialists that are social workers, behavior analysts and teachers,” said Troy Compardo, CEO of The Boone Center.

The support specialists help monitor any behavior or social needs to employees during the work day, while also communicating with families and helping to coordinate transportation. If a Boone Center employee finds new work, a specialist will continue to work with them as a case manager, tending to their specific needs.

“We’re pretty proud to say when we place somebody with an employer, we have a 90 percent retention rate after 6 months,” said Compardo. “So I think this is a great use of taxpayer funding frankly to get people employed.”

Revenue generated from both the personal property tax and real estate taxes help to pay for the salaries of the employment support specialists. It also helps to cover tuition costs at BCI’s Skills Center, an eight-week course that places students in full time manufacturing work upon graduation.

“That helps reimburse those costs,” Compardo said. “Without it, we’d have to find another revenue source and that can be difficult.”

For several years, conversations and legislation surrounding the elimination of the personal property tax have been ongoing in Jefferson City. Senator Bill Eigel (R-St. Charles County) introduced Senate Bill 8 in January. Initially, the bill was designed to phase out the personal property tax over the course of several years. However, the bill was modified to gain support from fellow Republicans in the Senate, Eigel said.

The bill, if it becomes law, would eliminate personal property tax on vehicles or farm equipment over 10-years-old. Cars between zero and 10-years-old would be put on a depreciation schedule. Further, the assessment rate on all personal property would be cut from 33.3% to 31%.

“My goal of eliminating personal property tax in the state of Missouri hasn’t changed but this would provide over a billion dollars of personal property tax relief over the next 10 years,” Sen. Eigel said. “The average age of a vehicle is 12 years, so the majority of the vehicles in this state under this bill wouldn’t pay personal property tax.”

Opponents of the legislation fear revenue streams will be impacted, in a time when they say costs are at an all time high.

“All of those taxing jurisdictions saw huge windfalls just from the increased values last year so of all the problems maybe some of those local jurisdictions are facing, a lack of money just isn’t one of them,” Eigel said.

Compardo said state politicians regularly tour The Boone Center, learning more about the operation and the funding necessary to maintain it.

“They promise there are other ways we can cut over if that’s eliminated, we just want to make sure we have that plan in place and understand it,” he said. “But if it’s left to us, it’s going to be a scramble to find other funding.”

If the personal property tax were to be eliminated down the line, Compardo said the non-profit’s $16 million annual budget would be impacted, despite receiving the vast majority of its funding from the packaging facility.