NY caps ag assessment hikes at 2%

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Hay bales sit in a farm field on Route 279 in the town of Gaines.

The farm community is cheering legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday that caps assessments for agricultural land to no more than 2 percent increases annually.

Farmers have been vocal in recent years about their property taxes, which are the second highest in the country and more than triple the national average, according to New York Farm Bureau.

“The 2 percent agricultural assessment cap has long been a priority for New York Farm Bureau,” said Dean Norton, NYFB president. “It is a big step forward in reducing the increasing property tax burden that has limited our farmers’ ability to grow.”

Several agricultural groups pushed the state to enact a cap on ag assessments, including Farm Credit East, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the New York Apple Association, the New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association and the Northeast Dairy Producers Association.

“The 2 percent agricultural assessment cap is vital to preserving New York’s family farms,” said Dale Stein of Le Roy, a board member for the Dairy Producers. “Without this cap, tax costs will escalate to an unaffordable level for the farms and force many family farms out of business.”

State Sen. George Maziarz supported a cap on ag assessments. The Senate and Assembly both approved the legislation.

“We are striving to make it easier to keep farms in operation, and we can do that by preventing them from drowning in a tidal wave of new taxes,” Maziarz said.