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State OKs farm ‘tax cap’

Agricultural land assessments held to 2 percent increase annually

— “It will help small family farms to grow, invest in their farms and create new jobs,” Tkaczyk said.

New York Apple Association President Jim Allen said the cap would benefit apple growers operating more than 54,000 acres across the state.

Northeast Dairy Producers Association Board Director Dale Stein said without the cap, “costs will escalate to an unaffordable level for the farms and force many family farms out of business.”

Assessments of agricultural land are calculated differently when compared to residential and commercial property. It is influenced by a national formula.

Property taxes account for approximately 15 percent of the average farm’s net expenses in the New York, which is 5 percent above the national average, according to Farm Credit East, a company providing loans and financial management services to farmers. The average property tax bill for a New York state farmer in 2007 was $5,544 and it increased to nearly $7,650 in 2011, almost $2,500 above the national average.

The average farm in the state is also smaller than the national average – 195 acres compared to 420 acres. The average state farmer pays $38.41 per acre in property taxes, according to Farm Credit East, which is above the national average of $12.34.

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