In a win for New York farmers and business groups who advocated for the legislation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Tuesday capping agricultural land assessments at two percent annually.
The New York Farm Bureau and other groups, including the National Federation of Independent Business in New York, supported the bill. New York Farm Bureau president Dean Norton cited a report in March that found New York farmers pay $26.21 per acre in property taxes, which is $20 more than the national average.
Norton praised Cuomo for approving the bill and for "putting the brakes on rising agricultural land assessments" in New York.
"New York Farm Bureau takes great pride in working with the governor on this priority issue for the agricultural community," Norton said in a statement Tuesday. "Governor Cuomo is our best friend when it comes to agricultural assessment reform and I appreciate his continued commitment and leadership in helping New York farms grow."
Cuomo said the cap on agricultural land assessments, along with the 2 percent property tax cap in place since 2011, will help New York farmers and allow them to invest more money in their farms instead of dealing with large tax increases.
"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 in a statement.
"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 hardworking families for generations to come."
The agricultural land assessment cap legislation was sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Magee and state Sen. Patty Ritchie. The Assembly and Senate passed the bill in June with bipartisan support.
NFIB New York state director Mike Durant praised Cuomo for signing the bill, which he said will send a "strong message to New York's family farms.
"Agribusiness contributes mightily to the health of New York’s economy and the rapid escalation of property taxes were threatening to permanently alter the sustainability of our family farms," Durant said. "We applaud both the unanimous approval by the legislature and commitment by the governor to help sustain and grow this vital segment of New York’s economy."