Governor says cap on farmland has helped agriculture

Staff Reports Posted 12 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – A bale of hay is pictured last summer off Wood Road near the 4-H Fairgrounds in Knowlesville.

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 Cuomo in October 2013, the law ensures that any increase in the agricultural assessment will be no more than 2 percent per year for farmers. Coupled with the 2 percent property tax cap, New York farmers are now enjoying a more predictable property tax climate, Cuomo said.

This predictability allows for smart business decision-making that helps to increase productivity and profitability on farms across the state, he said.

“Protecting our farmers from drastic adjustments in agricultural assessment values is crucial to ensuring that New York’s booming agriculture industry continues to thrive,” 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 Cuomo implementing the assessment relief, despite a 10 percent cap on annual assessment growth. The Department of Taxation and Finance projects the 2 percent cap will yield even greater benefit to New York farmers in 2015.

“Our state is home to thousands of world class agricultural producers and we have a lot to be proud of,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

“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.”

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 percent during the past three years, nearly 60 percent less than the 5.3 percent rate of growth over the previous 10 years.

“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,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president. “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.”