Palmesano Joins Bi-Partisan Coalition To Relieve Tax Burden On Family Farms

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) today joined a bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers and the New York Farm Bureau in supporting legislation, Assembly Bill 165, that will cap the agricultural property tax assessment at two percent. Skyrocketing land assessments have forced the cost of farmland tax bills to unmanageable levels. Currently, New York farmers pay $38.41 per acre in property taxes, this is the second highest rate in the nation and more than $25 per acre higher than the national average. This cost amounts to 15 percent of New York farmers’ net income being consumed by property taxes, as a percent of income this is the highest in the nation.

“Farming is a crucial industry to our state and, each year, more and more family farms close up shop because they can no longer afford to do business,” said Palmesano. “Capping the agricultural assessment at two percent will provide much-needed relief to our farmers and help ensure the survival of an industry that is vital to our state’s economy. I commend my colleagues in the Senate for passing this bill with overwhelming support and, once this bill passes the Assembly, I hope the Governor will move quickly to sign it into law.”

In the past 10 years, New York’s farmers have seen their property taxes essentially double. Additionally, the increase in taxes has coincided with pronounced increases to the cost of essential materials such as fuel and feed, as well as increases to labor and health care costs. These various increases are dramatically lowering the farmers’ bottom line and also prevent new farmers from joining in the state’s long farming tradition.

The bill already has passed the State Senate with a strong show of bipartisan support and has passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee, which will bring it to the Assembly floor for a vote. The New York Farm Bureau also is advocating for the establishment of a workgroup comprised of various stakeholders and experts to address the long-term problems related to agricultural assessment valuations.

“The added weight of rising property taxes is a big concern for my family’s dairy farm,” said Eric Ooms, NY Farm Bureau Vice President and Columbia County dairy farmer. “The increasing costs can limit the potential growth of the farm. In addition, the burden my children may have to take on in the future could prevent the farm from being passed on to the next generation.”

“If we are going to have a healthy agricultural economy in this state, it is time we take the necessary step to implement a two percent cap on agricultural land assessments,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau President. “New York farmers deserve a fair shot when it comes to selling their quality products in a competitive marketplace.”

For video of Assemblyman Palmesano discussing the agricultural assessment cap follow the link: