CCS HS HCS SCS SB 894 -- PROPERTY TAXES AND OWNERSHIP; COUNTIES AND CITIES; TITLE INSURANCE; MARKETING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
This bill makes several changes in laws regarding the collection of property taxes and property ownership. The bill:
(1) Requires that 1% of the property taxes collected against the first $500 million of assessed valuation in all counties that become counties of the first classification after September 1, 2000, and 1/2% on all taxes collected on the remainder of taxes collected against property in excess of $500 million be deposited in the assessment fund. In order to allocate these percentages among each political subdivision in the county, the assessor must determine the percentage of total property valuation divided into $500 million. The collector is required to retain 1% of that percentage of collections from each political subdivision's property taxes for the assessment fund and 1/2% on the remainder, also for the assessment fund;
(2) Changes the interest penalty for prepaid property taxes to only apply to the unpaid balance of the taxes if a payment is delinquent;
(3) Requires county collectors to apply payments for property taxes against any delinquent taxes before applying the payment to taxes due in the current year. The requirement does not apply to the payment of real property taxes made by financial institutions or mortgage loan companies from escrow accounts. Under current law, proceedings to foreclose on property with delinquent property taxes must be initiated within 3 years. The bill exempts the 3-year limitation when property that has been tax- exempt has been transferred but the instrument of the transfer has not been filed. The 3-year limitation will begin once the recording of the title has occurred;
(4) Allows for the creation in Buchanan and Clay counties of a land trust to administer the management, sale, and disposition of tax-delinquent properties;
(5) Requires a sheriff's sale for delinquent property taxes in charter counties of the first classification to begin at 10:00 a.m.;
(6) Prohibits persons who have 2 or more convictions based on violations within a 2-year period of municipal building or housing codes in charter counties of the first classification from bidding on property at a delinquent property tax sale; and
(7) Allows the court administrator in counties of the first classification to record a deed on property sold at a delinquent property tax sale. Any challenge to the validity of an administrator's or sheriff's deed must commence within 2 years.
In addition, the bill:
(1) Increases the travel reimbursement for assessors in counties of the third and fourth classification from the current 15 cents per mile to the same reimbursement paid to other county officials. The reimbursement cap of $2,250 per year is also eliminated;
(2) Allows the Clay County Commission to appoint and set compensation of park rangers. Rangers must be certified by the Department of Public Safety;
(3) Allows Clay County to establish, own, and operate marinas within the county. The proceeds from operating the marinas are to be paid into the county treasurer's park fund and expended only for park purposes. The bill also deletes language restricting park-owned concession stands to the Smithville Lake area;
(4) Allows any county, upon voter approval, to impose a sales tax at a rate of one-eighth of 1%;
(5) Expands the use of the law enforcement sales tax in all counties except St. Louis and Jackson counties to include capital improvement projects for law enforcement facilities and for payment of any interest and principal on bonds issued for such capital improvement projects;
(6) Allows special sales tax for all counties to be taxed at the rate of one-eighth of 1% and to be used for the payment of capital improvement bonds;
(7) Allows temporary planning commissions for townships. The temporary plan will affect only the township and will not become permanent until approved by the voters. The members of the temporary township planning commission will be the highway engineer, one person appointed by the county commission, and 3 residents of the affected township. If the plan is approved by the voters, a 3-member township commission is elected at the next countywide election. The county highway engineer is an ex officio member of the commission;
(8) Allows municipalities, after proper notice, to order property owners to remove trash which have been declared a nuisance;
(9) Requires the number of Planned Industrial Expansion Authority commissioners in St. Louis to be reduced from 15 to 5 through the process of attrition. The city may also adopt a consolidation plan to combine the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority with the Land Reutilization Authority;
(10) Earmarks $500,000 of and existing Missouri Small Business tax credits to development corporations and community banks;
(11) Repeals the tax credit for small business guaranty fees;
(12) Requires taxing authorities to express their proposed tax rate to the nearest one-one hundredth of a cent. The bill also requires the State Auditor to review proposed tax rates of taxing authorities within 15 days of receipt of documentation. If the State Auditor believes the rate submitted by the taxing authority does not comply with state law, the Auditor must submit a recalculated rate to the taxing authority. The taxing authority must submit to the Auditor documentation accepting or denying the Auditor's recalculated rate within 15 days of receipt of the recalculated rate from the Auditor. If the taxing authority rejects the Auditor's recalculated rate and does not submit documentation supporting the rejection, the Auditor must refer the perceived violation to the Attorney General. The Attorney General can obtain injunctive relief to prevent the taxing authority from levying the rate proposed to be in violation by the State Auditor, if the court refuses injunctive relief against a taxing authority's tax rate as requested by the Attorney General, then the Attorney General's office must reimburse the taxing authority all court cost and attorney's fees incurred as a result of the court proceeding. The bill extends the time period for refund or credit of an overpayment of property taxes that has been erroneously or mistakenly levied upon a taxpayer from one to 3 years;
(13) Allows joint municipal utility commissions to form contracts. Procedures are established for joint municipal utility commissions' succeeding nonprofit water and sewer companies;
(14) Changes the qualified research tax credit from a mandatory program to a discretionary program. In addition, sale, transfer, or assignment of these credits is at the discretion of the Department of Economic Development. These provisions become effective January 1, 2001;
(15) Allows water district customers in Franklin County to remove themselves from a water district under certain conditions. Customers must pay the district for the cost of removal;
(16) Raises assessed valuation limitation for levying property taxes for junior colleges. The provisions of this section contain an emergency clause; and
(17) Requires the Department of Natural Resources to verify compliance within 90 days after completion of an approved corrective action involving hazardous waste. The department must also issue a letter certifying compliance within 30 days after verification.
The bill makes changes to and reorganizes the Missouri Title Insurance Act. The provisions of the act become effective January 1, 2001. In its main provisions, the act:
(1) Expands the definitions section;
(2) Requires a title insurer or title agent issuing a lender's title insurance policy, when no owner's policy has been requested, to give written notice to a purchaser/mortgagor that the lender's policy does not protect the purchaser;
(3) Requires a written contract setting forth the allocation of responsibilities between a title insurer and a title insurance agent and delineates the title insurer's supervisory responsibilities regarding title insurance agents;
(4) Permits a title insurer or title insurance agent to operate as an escrow, security, settlement, or closing agent if certain listed requirements are complied with or met;
(5) Lists the actions the Director of the Department of Insurance may take or penalties that may be imposed against title insurers or title insurance agents that violate the title insurance laws;
(6) Prohibits an insurer that transacts any other class, type, or kind of business from obtaining a title insurance license, except that a title insurer can issue closing or settlement protection;
(7) Requires domestic and foreign title insurers to file an actuarial certificate with the required annual audited financial report and to establish a supplemental reserve accordingly;
(8) Subjects all title insurers to the Missouri Uniform Insurers Liquidation Act;
(9) Prohibits the use of listed title insurance forms unless the forms have been approved by the director;
(10) Permits a title insurer to meet its obligations regarding premium and form filing by becoming a member of or subscriber to a rate service company organized and licensed under the act;
(11) Sets forth procedures for hearings and review of rate filings;
(12) Sets forth requirements for the establishment and licensure of a rate service company; and
(13) Requires all title insurance agents to be licensed, lists the responsibilities and obligations for licensure, and details the title insurance continuing education requirements.
MARKETING OF MISSOURI AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
The bill permits family farms, family farm corporations, and eligible new generation cooperatives formed in Missouri to participate in the Neighborhood Assistance Act.
Organizations which perform community service or economic development activities are permitted to qualify as neighborhood organizations under the act by contributing to help finance a building or structure and any equipment necessary therein which is located within the state and used to sell or add value to agricultural food products grown or produced in Missouri. Under the act, business firms making contributions to neighborhood organizations receive tax credits. The total amount of tax credits allowed is $2.5 million per fiscal year for fiscal years 2002 to 2006.
The Department of Agriculture, for the use of the Marketing Division, is to develop and implement rules and regulations by product category for all Missouri agricultural products.
The bill also creates the Missouri Agricultural Products Marketing Development Fund, for the use of the Marketing Division of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Subject to appropriation, $1.3 million in 2002, $1 million in 2003, and $750,000 in 2004 to 2006 from the General Revenue Fund and fees collected pursuant to participation in the AgriMissouri or successor trademark marketing program are to be placed in the fund.
The Citizens' Advisory Commission for Marketing Missouri Agricultural Products is created to advise the Marketing Division of the Missouri Department of Agriculture on marketing activities associated with the AgriMissouri or successor trademark. The commission's composition, duties, and member's terms are specified.
The commission is to establish a fee structure for sellers of Missouri agricultural products electing to use the AgriMissouri or successor trademark. All sellers having gross annual sales greater than $2 million per fiscal year of Missouri agricultural products are to remit a trademark fee of 0.5% of the aggregate amount of all of the seller's wholesale sales of products carrying the AgriMissouri or successor trademark. All sellers having gross annual sales less than or equal to $2 million per fiscal year of Missouri agricultural products, after 3 years of selling Missouri agricultural products carrying the AgriMissouri or successor trademark are to remit a trademark fee of 0.5% of the aggregate amount of all of the seller's wholesale sales of products carrying the trademark.
The bill allows the commission to create 2 additional trademark labels to be associated with Missouri agricultural products. The trademark labels are for certified organic products and certified family farm produced products.
The Marketing Division of the Department of Agriculture is to create an Internet web site for the purpose of fostering the marketing of Missouri agricultural products. The web site is to allow consumers to place orders for Missouri agricultural products over the Internet and is to enable small companies which process Missouri agricultural products to pool products with other small companies.
The bill makes farmers who have formed a group for the purpose of selling products derived from their farming activities at a common structure, when at least 50% of the cost of such structure is paid by the group, eligible for tax credits under the Neighborhood Assistance Act.
STANDARDS AND LABELING FOR ORGANIC FARMING
The Department of Agriculture is to develop standards and labeling for organic farming.