Last year farmers paid $11 million less in agriculture land assessments
Industry praises Governor’s efforts to create a property tax climate more favorable for growth
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that as a result of the Agricultural Land Assessment Cap, last year farmers across the state paid $11 million less in agricultural property taxes. Signed into law by Governor Cuomo in October 2013, the law ensures that any increase in the agricultural assessment will be no more than two percent per year for farmers. Coupled with the two percent property tax cap, New York farmers are now enjoying a more predictable property tax climate. This predictability allows for smart business decision-making that helps to increase productivity and profitability on farms across the state.
“Protecting our farmers from drastic adjustments in agricultural assessment values is crucial to ensuring that New York’s booming agriculture industry continues to thrive,” Governor Cuomo said. “This control on property tax growth is helping some of our hardest working individuals support themselves and their families. The agriculture industry is an important part of the State’s economy, and this program will continue to provide meaningful relief to help keep our farmers’ hard-earned income in their pockets.”
The base assessment value for agricultural lands nearly doubled over the seven years prior to Governor Cuomo implementing the assessment relief, despite a ten percent cap on annual assessment growth. The Department of Taxation and Finance projects the two percent cap will yield even greater benefit to New York farmers in 2015.
Incoming Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Kenneth Adams said, “The cap on agricultural assessments supports a farm industry across New York that is critical to the local and statewide economies. Governor Cuomo’s agricultural assessment and property tax caps are protecting farmers and homeowners across New York.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This new law, championed by the industry, is a perfect example of how Governor Cuomo is working with New York agriculture to be a partner in its success. Our state is home to thousands of world class agricultural producers and we have a lot to be proud of. In all my years as a farmer, I can honestly say that there has never been a better relationship between agriculture and state government than there is right now. This new law is living proof of this partnership.”
Senate Agriculture Chair Senator Patty Ritchie said, “When it comes to agriculture, land taxes are one of the biggest expenses farmers are up against. They make it harder for farmers to succeed, decrease the likelihood that farms will be passed on to the next generation and as a result, threaten the very future of family farming. This cap gives farmers more certainty, helps them to control costs and adds a new level of protection when it comes to preserving the future of family farming and New York’s leading industry.”
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the State Assembly Agriculture Committee said, “The state’s 2 percent agricultural assessment cap has helped to limit property taxes on farmland, especially near urban areas. Before the cap, farmers often faced unsustainable increases to their tax bills as the surrounding lands got built out. Now, they have stability on their tax bills, which allows them to sustain their businesses and helps to keep our working landscapes green.”
New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said, “The cap on agricultural land assessment was a top priority for our members who were seeing their tax bills skyrocket because of rising land values. In turn, the money they have saved can be reinvested into our farms to help grow our rural economies upstate and on Long Island. We appreciate Governor Cuomo working with us to invest in New York agriculture and accomplish such significant savings.”
Genesee County dairy farmer, Jeff Post said, “Running a family farm is a costly venture, and that is why this announcement is so significant. Reining in my tax bill frees up money to spend elsewhere on the farm. It is initiatives like this that will help keep farmland in production and support the next generation of farmers who are looking to purchase land.”
Long Island vegetable farmer Robert Nolan said, “Land on Long Island is under intense development pressure as property values rise. By controlling the agricultural land assessments, New York has helped safeguard the land for agricultural use while at the same time slowed the climbing tax rates. That is imperative to keeping farmers like myself on the land producing fresh, local food that is essential for our communities.”
Governor Cuomo has made controlling property taxes one of his highest priorities, with New York’s first property tax cap laying the foundation for more affordable property taxes for all New Yorkers. Between 2000 and 2011, property taxes nearly doubled in New York. As a result of the property tax cap introduced by the Governor in 2011, New York’s property taxes have been held to an average growth rate of 2.2% during the past three years, nearly 60% less than the 5.3% rate of growth over the previous ten years.
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