Ohio Lawmakers May Lower Skyrocketing Farmland Taxes

State lawmakers are looking at giving Ohio farmers a break on their real estate taxes that have skyrocketed over the last few years.

The Blade reports that taxes for farmland are rising. Republican state Rep. Kirk Schuring estimates that property values have gone up 300 percent in recent years. However, prices for crops that farmers produce have dropped.

“Our agricultural community has had some very difficult times. In fact, they’ve been caught between a rock and a hard place,” said Schuring.

Property value is determined by the Current Agricultural Use Variation Formula. The complicated algorithm considers several things including mortgage interest rates, land production costs, crop prices and income.

Farmers argue that rising crop prices combined with low mortgage interest rates have created inflated land values. Many think the formula should be reworked.

Farmers are hope Ohio leaders will help them out in the two-year state budget that’s being considered in the Senate after it was approved by the House.

A proposal in the budget would change how the state determines the value of agricultural land, shifting to U.S. Department of Agriculture data that reflects the land’s farming value.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio hasn’t taken a position on the proposal, but it says the measure would lead to a loss of money for local governments and school districts. Residential and business properties would then take the brunt of local tax burdens.

“It’s a legitimate push and pull between those who believe the income tax is the most fair tax and those who believe other taxes are the best way,” said Ron Sylvester, spokesman for the Ohio Farmers Union.

Another plan spreads the formula change out over six years to mitigate the impact it has on local governments.

The final budget is due by June 30.

Source: The Wichita Eagle 

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