Pharos-Tribune

Local News

February 11, 2013

Leveling the field

Local farmers face property tax hikes if Senate bill fails

Unless statehouse representatives approve a Senate bill that was fast-tracked late last week, the base tax on farmland will end up about 50 percent higher by 2016.

State Rep. Bill Friend, the Macy representative from District 23 and one of just two full-time farmers in the Indiana House, represents part of Cass County. He said Friday that Senate Bill 319, proposed in January, had been put on the fast track in the House in order to get it passed in time for this year’s property assessments.

The bill is meant to retain last year’s structure for determining property taxes — keeping farm property taxes from rising out of proportion with residential and commercial property taxes.

Farmland productivity is factored into the base rate to arrive at the actual tax on a parcel. Currently, the base rate for farmland property taxes is supposed to go up more than 8 percent this year to $1,630, then another 8 percent in 2014, more than 16 percent in 2015 and a whopping 18.5 percent in 2016, according to data from the Cass County Purdue Extension.

That rise is much higher than is expected in other property sectors, said Tamara Ogle, a Purdue Extension Educator in Cass County.

“Even if the economy recovers, we’re not going to see that kind of increase in business uses or residential uses,” Ogle said. “So farmland’s going to make up a greater share of the tax base over the next three to four years.”

“There’s no way the assessed value of housing is going to increase 16 percent” in one year, she added. “Farmers are going to pay more of the share of our property taxes.”

Agricultural land taxes made up about 23 percent of county property taxes in 2012, according to the state Legislative Services Agency’s county property tax studies.

The state legislature is looking specifically at the way farmland productivity is rated. The Department of Local Government Finances, which handles property tax rates, issued new soil productivity ratings this year which would have caused much of the increase.

Friend said Friday that the fast-tracked bill will probably be voted on this week. He anticipated a handy approval of it.

“It’s a fairness issue to make sure everybody gets relief,” he said. Property tax controls in place have held most property tax rates static, added Friend, while “the farmland has continued to increase and this little adjustment by the DLGF was going to push it up another 20 percent. That’s a pretty hefty tax increase.”

The bill was fast-tracked in order to pass and go before the governor for his signature before the year’s property tax assessments got under way.

Senate Bill 319 would also require the DLGF to submit future changes to the base rate figuring to the legislature for approval, Friend said.

Agricultural landowners have already seen the base rate rise from $880 in 2007. Last year’s base rate was $1,500.

Cass County has some fairly good land, said Dave Forgey, president of the county Farm Bureau, and the rise in property taxes would have especially affected farmland owners around Galveston and Young America, where some of the county’s best land is centered.

“Things have changed dramatically for farmers while homeowners still get a pretty good deal,” Forgey said. “At least it gives [legislators] a little more time to study these things and get a better handle on them.”

Ogle explained that on the whole, changes to the base rate affect crop farmers more than animal farmers. Farmers who rent land will see any changes to the property tax rates trickle down into the rental prices.

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS-PT072714 - manhunt pickup - MLK Escapee apprehended in Carroll County w/VIDEO

    The inmate who escaped from the Logansport State Hospital Thursday night was apprehended in Carroll County late Friday morning. Carroll County Sheriff's Department Major Tobe Leazenby said Christopher J. Robbins, 23, Medaryville, was appreh

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police Blotter: July 25, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 25, 2014

  • NWS-PT072514-Begindergarten-BCM Focus on kids: Data shows rising poverty, but better education Indiana and Cass County children are making improvements in education, but the poverty rate still stays high, according to national data. The Annie E. Casey Foundation 2014 Kids Count Data Book released its annual evaluation of the nation’s children

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents oppose proposed gravel pit in Walton

    WALTON — Engineering Aggregates Corp. wants to dig a gravel pit, and residents around the proposed site are worried that it would interfere with what several called a peaceful country lifestyle. Engineering Aggregates has petitioned the Cass County B

    July 25, 2014 1 Link

  • NWS-PT072514 Billeaud Mug Guilty verdict in flag beating A Logansport man was found guilty in a jury trial Wednesday on counts of felony battery after an altercation in which he was charged with beating a man with a board holding an American flag.Jeffrey Billeaud Jr., 39, was found guilty of battery by mea

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT072514 Patacsil-kmv Logan coaching legend Patacsil dies at 86 Logansport and Purdue University lost a giant among sports leaders Wednesday. Former Purdue great and former Logansport High School wrestling coach and educator Joe Patacsil passed away in his home.When his sons were leading the Berries wrestling pro

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burlington woman charged in May fatal crash KOKOMO — Police arrested a 26-year-old Burlington woman accused of causing a fatal crash while driving drunk Wednesday.Howard County sheriff deputies served a warrant on Casie E. Johnson charging her with a B felony causing death while operating a ve

    July 25, 2014

  • Robbins Christopher.jpg UPDATE: State Hospital escapee identified

    Police are seeking an escaped inmate of Logansport State Hospital with a history of residential entry and battery.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Blotter: July 24, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS-PT072414 shrek2.jpg Cast of believers: Children take stage this weekend As almost 50 children and teenagers crowded around the edge of the stage at McHale Performing Arts Center, Dan McDonald counted off: one, two, three... “I believe!”It was the start of tech rehearsal for Junior Civic Theater’s production of “Shrek: Th

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
eEdition