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Cuomo signs bill capping farm-land assessments at 2 percent per year

By Eric Reinhardt


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed legislation to cap agricultural-land assessments at two percent per year, “ensuring a more predictable tax climate” for New York’s agricultural sector.

Coupled with Cuomo’s two percent property-tax cap, the law is intended to keep farmers on their lands and help them reinvest in their operations, the governor’s office said in a news release.

About 25 percent of New York’s land is in agriculture, according to the governor’s office.

Over the past seven years, the base-assessment value for agricultural lands has nearly doubled, leading to “skyrocketing” property-tax increases, Cuomo’s office said.

Those increases, coupled with increases in municipal and school taxes, have resulted in a “difficult” business climate for some farmers.

Previously, the annual change in the base agricultural-assessment property value could not exceed 10 percent.

The new legislation provides for an annual-assessment increase of no more than two percent, which is intended to help maintain agricultural lands in both “high-pressure” development areas and rural areas, and save farmers thousands of dollars in property taxes every year.

Agriculture is “big business” in New York, and state government is committed to doing everything it can to help the industry “thrive,” Cuomo said in the news release.

“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,” Cuomo said.

The bill signing drew a positive reaction from at least one business group.

By signing the cap on agriculture assessments, Cuomo has sent a “strong” message to New York’s family farms, Michael Durant, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), said in a statement the NFIB released on Tuesday.

“Agri-business contributes mightily to the health of New York’s economy, and the rapid escalation of property taxes [was] threatening to permanently alter the sustainability of our family farms. We applaud both the unanimous approval by the legislature and commitment by the governor to help sustain and grow this vital segment of New York’s economy,” Durant said.


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