LUETKEMEYER TESTIFIES

State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, discusses a Senate bill during the 2019 session.

Criminal justice and property tax reforms are two priorities being pushed by State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, ahead of next year’s legislative session in Jefferson City.

“We have had some issues in Northwest Missouri and around the state where people were given short notice about significant increases to their real estate property taxes,” Luetkemeyer said. “I’m going to be working on legislation to make sure we protect taxpayers so they are given adequate notice and that they can appeal any unreasonable tax assessment.”

The Republican also said he wants to ensure there are caps in place so that real estate tax assessments couldn’t rise at a significant rate year-to-year, triggering what Luetkemeyer called a historic amount of tax appeals earlier this year.

In response to a question regarding the benefits of increased home values, Luetkemeyer acknowledged the overall positive side but said they need to bear “some reasonable relationship” to what market forces are showing.

“The fact that the government would be taxing people out of their homes is unconscionable to me,” he said in an interview with News-Press NOW. “I think we need to have better protections in place to protect taxpayers.”

The freshman senator also laid out plans for tackling a spike in crime, both locally and across the state.

“We need to make sure our streets are safe for our kids and our communities,” Luetkemeyer said. “I’ve got some criminal reforms that we are going to be looking at this year, making sure people who commit violent crimes are not just released and put back out on the streets with a slap on a wrist.

“That type of catch-and-release is unacceptable and something that we are seeing too much of.”

The lawmaker, who also is an attorney, pointed to a 2016 USA Today study showing a surge in violent crime in St. Joseph as well as heavily publicized upticks in crime in both Kansas City and St. Louis.

Luetkemeyer said he and his fellow lawmakers will learn more about Gov. Mike Parson’s priorities when the lawmakers meet next week at a caucus retreat for Missouri Republicans.

Prefiling for bills begins in the first week of December. The 2020 General Assembly will convene in January.

Mark Zinn can be reached

at mark.zinn@knpn.com.

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