Assessment increases on farmland in St. Lawrence County and across the state are now capped at 2 percent per year.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill setting a 2 percent cap on agricultural land assessments today.
In a release issues to the press, Cuomo said the base assessment value for agricultural lands has nearly doubled over the past seven years, leading to skyrocketing property tax increases. Coupled with increases in municipal and school taxes, has led to a difficult business climate for some farmers, he said in an issued statement.
“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. “Agriculture is big business in New York and our state government is committed to doing everything we can to help this vital industry thrive and continue to create jobs and economic prosperity, particularly upstate. This new law is a great example of just how far we’ve come and will help ensure that agricultural lands remain in the hands of hard working families for generations to come.
The bill received strong support from New York State Farm Bureau.
“I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his continuing commitment to farms across the state. The 2 percent agricultural assessment cap has long been a priority for New York Farm Bureau. It is a big step forward in reducing the increasing property tax burden that has limited our farmers’ ability to grow. It will also help young and beginning farmers as they endeavor to provide locally grown food, fuel and fiber. Today is a victory for all farmers, and this shows what can happen when we all work together for the betterment of agriculture,” Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau, said.
Currently, 25 percent of New York’s land is in agriculture. High property taxes on agricultural lands put New York at a competitive disadvantage with other states, Cuomo said in a release.
"A 2 percent tax cap on annual agricultural assessment increases will keep New York’s family farms competitive and maintain the high quality local food network that the State’s consumers expect," he said in the release.
North Country Sen. Patty Ritchie, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also supported the bill.
“It goes without saying that farming is a land intensive business, with one of the main costs for farmers being taxes on the land they utilize. By enacting this 2 percent cap, we are providing our hardworking farmers—whether they’re just starting out or continuing a generations-old family tradition—with the relief they need to continue to grow not only their businesses, but also New York’s biggest industry as a whole," she said.