North Country News
6:30 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

New York Agricultural Assessments Capped

Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a law that caps agricultural land assessment increases.

The New York governor’s office reports that the base assessment value for agricultural land has nearly doubled over the past seven years. Legislation signed Tuesday will limit increases of agricultural assessments to a maximum of 2 percent a year.
New York Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Jeff Williams says it's crucial to control skyrocketing and unsustainable escalation. Williams notes that farmers across the state face the second highest property tax burden in the country at more than triple the national average.

New York State has an agricultural assessment program, so a land in production is assessed differently than that for housing or business. Clinton County Treasurer Joe Giroux owns an 80-cow dairy farm on 600 acres of land. He explains how the assessment works.

Franklin County Farm Bureau President Kirby Selkirk owns Kurbside Gardens in Chateugay. He raises sheep and most of his land is pasture. Knowing there is a 2 percent cap on its assessment, he says, is reassuring.

Joe Giroux, meanwhile, feels that it was past time for the new cap.

Nearly 25 percent of New York's land is in agricultural use.

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