Albany passes bill capping tax hikes on farmland
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The Assembly voted unanimously today to cap tax assessments on agricultural land at 2% increases per year. The bill now goes before Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature.
Because farmland is valued by the crops it can produce, and the price of corn and other crops has been skyrocketing, farmers were seeing their taxes rise significantly over the last few years. New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said the measure would be "a big boost" to farmers. More from NYFB's press release:
Agricultural land assessments are dictated by a complicated formula that takes into account national production value statistics and soil type. Currently, New York farmers pay $38.41 per acre in property taxes, according to Farm Credit East. That is the second highest rate in the country and eats up 15% of a farm’s net income. This puts farmers in this state at a clear competitive disadvantage.
NCPR's Joanna Richards reported last month on this.
North Country State Senator and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Patty Ritchie also commended the passage:
"Land taxes are crushing farmers, threatening to drive many right out of business, and making it harder to keep generations-old farms in the family. That's why I've sponsored and passed this bill two years in a row, and why the Senate made reform a key part of our "Grown in New York" agriculture plan this year."
Not everyone will be happy, and that might be you if you live in a region with lots of farmland. Some St. Lawrence County legislators were against the ag tax cap, saying it would increase the burden on all other taxpayers. Lawmaker and former dairy farmer Sallie Brothers told Nora Flaherty, "if you're a farmer you're getting a discount on your taxes that somebody, someone, somewhere has to pick up that dollar value on the levy."
Tags: agriculture, albany, economy, farming, farmland, tax