Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Agricultural Land Assessment Cap Bill Signed by Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed a law to cap agricultural land assessments at 2 percent per year.

This is a bill New York Farm Bureau has been lobbying for months.

The governor's office said signing this bill into law ensures a more predictable tax climate for the state's agricultural sector. And putting this bill with the 2 percent property tax cap, farmers will be able to stay on their land and reinvest some of the money that would have gone for taxes into their operations.

“Protecting our farmers from unsustainable tax hikes is part of our work to change our state’s reputation as the tax capital of the nation by controlling spending while reducing the tax burden on New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

“Agriculture is big business in New York and our state government is committed to doing everything we can to help this vital industry thrive and continue to create jobs and economic prosperity, particularly Upstate, he said. "This new law is a great example of just how far we’ve come and will help ensure that agricultural lands remain in the hands of hard working families for generations to come.”

According to the governor's office, during the past seven years, the base assessment value for agricultural lands has nearly doubled, leading to skyrocketing property tax increases. This, coupled with increases in municipal and school taxes, has led to a difficult business climate for some farmers. 

Previously, the annual change in the base agricultural assessment property value could not exceed 10 percent. The new legislation provides for an annual assessment increase of no more than 2 percent.

New York Farm Bureau was thrilled the bill was signed into law.

"In recent years, farmers have carried an increasingly heavy property tax burden that is second highest in the country and more than triple the national average," said Farm Bureau President Dean Norton. "But today, we will begin to get those skyrocketing property taxes under control. The cap will limit increases of agricultural assessment to no more than 2 percent a year."

"This does not mean farmers won’t be paying their fair share of taxes. It simply will control the rate of escalation that will make it easier for our family farms to budget for and pay their taxes," Norton said.  "By putting pen to paper, Governor Cuomo has given another boost to our family farms that contribute greatly to both the physical and economic health of their communities, and New York Farm Bureau very much appreciates his continued partnership with us on critical economic issues."

New York Farm Bureau also worked closely with many agricultural organizations to make today a reality. In addition, Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, ushered the bill through their respective houses culminating in unanimous bipartisan victories.

To all of them, New York Farm Bureau expresses sincere gratitude for being our partners as well, Norton said

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