Surtax Reduction Ballot Issue FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Surtax Reduction ballot issue on the November 8, 2022 ballot. 

What is the Laclede County surtax?

Prior to 1984, an “inventory tax” on merchants and manufacturing was eliminated by voters due to difficulty with consistent and fair assessment and application of the tax. The “inventory tax” was replaced with the surtax on commercial real property, effective on January 1, 1985. The 1985 surtax on commercial real property was established to replace the revenue lost through the elimination of the “inventory tax.” The surtax provides critical funding to support services in Laclede County, such as the public library, SB40 Developmental Disability Services, public health department, school districts, road districts, and municipal entities.

In 1984 Laclede County engaged key stakeholders among those service entities to set the levy rate at $1.03 per $100 of assessed value. The surtax levy rate was appropriate in 1985 based on lost revenue from the inventory tax and continues to meet needs in 2022. 

What is the ballot language for the Laclede County surtax reduction?

“Shall Laclede County, Missouri reduce the commercial property surtax levy on all utility, industrial, commercial, railroad, and all other real property that is not residential or agricultural property, from 1.03 per $100 assessed valuation to .51 assessed valuation effective September 1, 2023?”

As a homeowner in Laclede County, would a “yes” vote lower my taxes?

No, it would not, unless you also own commercial real property. A "yes" vote will reduce taxes for less than 7% of Laclede County real property owners. This does not include homes (primary residences) or farms. More than 93% of real property owners in Laclede County would see no reduction in taxes.

A "yes" vote would only lower your taxes if you own commercial real property in Laclede County. This does not include your home (primary residence).

Who pays the $1.03 surtax?

Commercial real property owners have paid the surtax since 1984. Residential and agriculture property owners do not pay this surtax.

What entities would face a funding cut as a result of a surtax reduction?

The first year of budget cuts would total approximately $475,000 across the following entities, with an increasing rate each year thereafter:

  • Laclede County Public Library
  • Laclede County Health Department
  • SB40 Developmental Disability Services
  • Road Districts
  • County Municipalities (including the City of Lebanon)
  • Public Schools in Laclede County

Who would the proposed surtax cut benefit?

The commercial surtax reduction would benefit commercial real property owners in Laclede County. Commercial property makes up less than 7% of all property in the county. More than 93% of Laclede County real property owners would see no benefit.

How many residents are in Laclede County?

There are 35,680 residents in Laclede County. 

Who would stand to have a loss of services from the surtax reduction?

100% of the 35,680 residents of Laclede County could face a reduction in services based on reduced funding as a result of the surtax reduction.

How many real property parcels are there in Laclede County?

There are 21,158 real property parcels in Laclede County.

How many commercial real property parcels are there in Laclede County?

There are 1,438 commercial real property parcels in Laclede County. Note: Commercial real property parcels are included in the total number of real property parcels (21,158) in the county.

How many individual property owners actually own commercial real property parcels in Laclede County?

Approximately 900 individuals/entities own commercial real property in Laclede County. 

Of these approximately 900 individuals/entities, how many have mailing addresses in Laclede County?

Of the approximately 900 commercial real property owners, 263 or 28% have mailing addresses for their tax bill outside of Laclede County.

What percent of Laclede County property owners currently pay this surtax?

The surtax cut would benefit less than 7% of real property owners in Laclede County and would not benefit homeowners, farm owners, or those who rent or lease. 

Is the existing surtax on commercial real property limiting growth in Laclede County?

According to the City of Lebanon, over 95% of commercial property in Lebanon is currently being utilized.

Does the Lebanon R-3 School Board oppose the surtax reduction?

Yes, the Board voted unanimously during their October 11, 2022 meeting to oppose the proposed surtax reduction through this resolution

Who placed the surtax reduction on the ballot?

This was placed on the ballot through a unanimous vote of the Laclede County Commission. 

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