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[r25] SB 319: Helping reduce tax rates for farming Hoosiers
Start Date: 2/13/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/13/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

SB 319:  Helping reduce tax rates for farming Hoosiers

Tax rates are always subject to change depending on economic and political climates. Because of Hoosier values and good common sense, it is no surprise that Indiana has one of the most taxpayer-friendly and pro-business tax climates in the country. But even with our state’s favorable tax rates, there can still be fluctuations as has been the case with the value of farmland.

Property tax rates for farmland have doubled in the past decade.  Assessment on farmland has increased its value and consequently raised the property taxes to own it. This is troubling news, as many Hoosier farmers are facing the realities of a lower crop yield due to this summer’s historic drought. Since many in our community rely on their land to provide for their family, this recent tax hike could not come at a worse time.

Senate Bill (SB) 319 is the first bill to switch houses this legislative session and has been fast tracked to address this issue. I am sponsoring it along with Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) to provide relief to struggling farmers. 

SB 319 states that the soil productivity factors used for the March 1, 2011 assessment of agricultural land must also be used for the March 1, 2013 assessment date.  Under this bill, the current soil productivity factors would remain in place for property taxes payable in 2014, and the new soil productivity factors could not be used until 2015.

By using the 2011 assessment date, the assessed value of farmland will be lower, preventing considerable tax hikes from taking place. SB 319 is being prioritized in order for the Department of Local Government Finance and county assessors to use existing soil productivity factors to determine farmland assessment value for taxes payable in 2014.  This will make the assessed value more accurate in relation to the current state of the land.

Many Hoosiers think that last year’s drought is an issue of the past, but unfortunately that is not the case. According to the Indiana State Climate Office, our state is currently in a severe drought.  This drastically decreases our crop production, but land assessment and property taxes owed stay the same, or in this case, increase. 

Studies show that agriculture businesses and the value of farmland have had the largest property tax increase since 2007, increasing by about $70 million.  Speaking from experience, I now pay twice as much per acre on my farm than I did in 2002.  However, most other taxed properties such as businesses, personal real estate, other residential properties and homesteads, either increased only a small percentage or decreased over the last five years. 

Our hope in the Legislature is to prevent additional financial burdens on Indiana’s renowned agriculture community and to show our support for farmers. Upon passage of SB 319, a summer study committee will be created in order to further research and discuss agriculture property tax issues. 

As always, I encourage you to contact me with any questions or comments you may have. I can be reached by phone at 317-234-2993 or email at


State Rep. Don Lehe serves as Chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. He also serves on the Environmental Affairs Committee and the Public Health Committee.  Rep. Lehe represents portions of White, Cass, Carroll, Clinton and Tippecanoe Counties.
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    > SB 319: Helping reduce tax rates for farming Hoosiers
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Business & Agriculture
  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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