By ANN ALLEN
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — State Senate Bill 319, currently being fast-tracked through the Indiana legislature, would delay new calculations for property taxes on Hoosier farmland for one year.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg), has been quoted as saying she wants to make sure farmland is being assessed fairly. She believes last summer’s drought makes the delay necessary.
Updated soil productivity factors were expected to result in an average increase of 25 percent for tax payments on farmland – up to $57 million more in state tax revenue. Leising’s bill would delay the new taxing method until next year and allow soil productivity factors from 2011 to be used again in 2013.
Her proposal would require state tax officials and Purdue University agriculture researchers to prepare a review of the soil productivity measurement for the legislature to consider next year.
The legislation passed the Senate 48-0. The House Ways and Means Committee approved it on a 20-0 vote last week.
Hailed by the Indiana Farm Bureau as perhaps the most important legislation this year for the state’s agriculture industry, the bill is being fast-tracked because county assessors will soon begin property tax assessments.