Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting of the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau with more than 600 farmers in attendance. It was great to be able to talk with these farmers and hear from them about the issues that they face. Agriculture is Ohio’s No. 1 industry, contributing more than $107 billion to our state economy. One of the most prevalent issues on the minds of those who I talked to was the amount they were paying in property taxes.

One specific concern that I heard a lot about is the rising rates for CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Valuation). CAUV allows farmland to be taxed based on its agricultural worth, rather than its appraised value. The program helps preserve farmland by ensuring that taxes are based on the income potential of the land, not the value it would earn if it were to be sold for development. Although it is state law that authorizes CAUV, the program—not the rates—is administered by the county auditor.

Every six years, the county auditors are required to reappraise every parcel of land in Ohio and then do an update every three years. Under CAUV, a formula is used to set the values of Ohio’s roughly 3,500 soil types based on crop patterns, crop prices, crop yield, non-land production costs and capitalization rates. In times of high crop prices and low capitalization rates—like right now—CAUV rates will rise. The county auditors simply apply the values as they implement the program.

The fact of the matter is that I do not like anyone having to pay more in taxes, most especially during difficult economic times. Certainly, while the rate of increase in CAUV land values does not necessarily translate to the same rate of increase in taxes owed by the landowner (because of tax credits and other factors), this distinction becomes more difficult to see when faced with a higher property tax bill. The reality, however, is that CAUV values remain substantially lower than the fair market value, making the program both an exceptional value and essential to farmers. Moreover, CAUV is not intended to ensure farmers pay as few taxes as possible on their land, but that the taxes they pay reflect the agricultural production value of the land.

As your State Representative, one thing that I can do is help farmers in the 99th District to ensure that agricultural lands are being appropriately valued. Every year an advisory committee meets to give input to the Ohio Tax Commissioner. In recent years, modifications have been made to the formula to make it more consistent and fair. Working with farmers in my district and organizations like the Ohio Farm Bureau, we can ensure that farmland continues to be taxed in a fair and reasonable way.

My thanks go out to all the farmers I was able to speak with about CAUV and other issues while at the meeting. As your state representative, I will continue to seek out ways of helping the farmers in our community and ensuring that agriculture can remain our No. 1 industry.


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