New Law Will Save Farmers Thousands of Dollars in Property Tax Increases Annually
Albany, NY (October 22, 2013)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to cap agricultural land assessments at two percent per year, ensuring a more predictable tax climate for New York’s robust agricultural sector. Coupled with the Governor’s two percent property tax cap, this landmark legislation will keep farmers on their lands and help them reinvest in 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,” Governor 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. 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.”
Over 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 ten percent. The new legislation signed by Governor Cuomo provides for an annual assessment increase of no more than two percent, which will help maintain agricultural lands in both high pressure development areas as well as rural areas, and save farmers thousands of dollars in property taxes every year.
Acting State Agriculture Commissioner James B. Bays, said, “Capping annual assessments at two percent will help the business of farming remain viable while ensuring that working farmland remains in production. This common sense legislation signed by Governor Cuomo will greatly benefit New York’s hard working farm families and we appreciate the Governor’s continued support for our industry.”
Senator Patty Ritchie, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “It goes without saying that farming is a land intensive business, with one of the main costs for farmers being taxes on the land they utilize. By enacting this 2 percent cap, we are providing our hardworking farmers—whether they’re just starting out or continuing a generations-old family tradition—with the relief they need to continue to grow not only their businesses, but also New York’s biggest industry as a whole.”
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Agriculture Committee said, “In signing this bill Governor Cuomo has proven his commitment to encouraging and developing agricultural opportunities for all regions of New York. By addressing increasing property taxes, along with expanding resources for growth and development through other initiatives, the Governor is providing New York’s farmers relief from oppressive business costs that will help to keep family farms operating in New York.”
Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau, said, “Putting the brakes on rising agricultural land assessments shows Governor Cuomo’s commitment to helping control the heavy property tax burden our farmers carry. New York Farm Bureau takes great pride in working with the Governor on this priority issue for the agricultural community. Governor Cuomo is our best friend when it comes to agricultural assessment reform and I appreciate his continued commitment and leadership in helping New York farms grow.”
Currently, 25 percent of New York’s land is in agriculture. High property taxes on agricultural lands put New York at a competitive disadvantage with other states. A two percent tax cap on annual agricultural assessment increases will keep New York’s family farms competitive and maintain the high quality local food network that the State’s consumers expect.