Senate Bill (SB) 319, sponsored by State Representative Don Lehe (R-Brookston) and cosponsored by State Representative Denny Zent (R-Angola), 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.
“Representing a rural area, I appreciate this bill and the relief it offers farmers,” said Rep. Zent. “Preventing farmers from having to pay increased property taxes will give them a fighting chance to sustain their livelihood while dealing with droughts and other external factors.”
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 establishes an interim study committee to study agriculture property tax issues.
SB 319 now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.