STATEHOUSE — Senate Bill (SB) 319, sponsored by State Representative Don Lehe (R-Brookston) and cosponsored by State Representative Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield), passed the Indiana House of Representatives on Monday with a unanimous vote. SB 319 is the first piece of legislation to pass both houses in the 2013 legislative session.
SB 319 addresses the assessment of farmland for property tax purposes. The Department of Local Government Finance had produced a list of changes last year that equals an immediate 20 percent increase in property taxes on farmland. Taxes on farmland the last few years have increased dramatically as the newly enacted controls have held other classes of property static or reduced. By fast tracking the bill, local assessors can implement the new statute before spring documents are mailed out to property owners.
“The actual text of the bill deals with the soil productivity factor but refers to the value of the land,” said Rep. Cherry. “A recent study showed that agricultural land has experienced the largest property tax increase of any type of land since 2007. The recent drought has negatively affected the agriculture community in Indiana, but that does not change how the land is assessed. This piece of legislation prevents farmers from having to pay a significant increase in taxes, providing some needed relief.”
In SB 319, the current soil productivity factors, used for the March 2011 assessment of agricultural land value, would remain in place for property taxes payable in 2014. The new soil productivity factors could not be used until 2015.
The bill also requires the Department of Local Government Finance, in cooperation with the Purdue University College of Agriculture, to submit reports to the Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy and to an interim study committee established to study agriculture property tax issues.
SB 319 now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
To stay up-to-date on this bill and any other piece of legislation in the General Assembly, visit www.in.gov/legislative.