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New law is good for farm economy

Just like every property owner in the state, I recently relieved my bank account of my hard-earned income to pay my school taxes. It’s a civic responsibility that all landowners must bear, but for my family’s farm in Western New York and thousands more across the state, the burden was becoming too much. Farms pay triple the national average per acre in property taxes. A big reason is rising assessments on agricultural land, which had been increasing at a rate of 10 percent a year over the past several years.

Now, at the urging of New York Farm Bureau, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation capping the farmland assessment values at 2 percent. This is giving another boost to all of our family farms that contribute greatly to both the physical and economic health of our neighbors and communities. This action doesn’t 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 family farms to budget for and pay their taxes. It will also assist new and young farmers who are looking to purchase farmland.

We greatly appreciate the governor’s actions, and we look forward to continuing to partner with him to support New York’s farms and farm economy.

Dean Norton

President, New York Farm Bureau