The New York State Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) designed to assist local farmers.
Senate bill 447 extends the eligibility of the farmer's school tax credit program to include agricultural lands that are leased for at least a five-year period. Under current law, farmers must either own or possess real property under a land contract before they are eligible to obtain the Farmer's Income Tax Credit on moneys paid for school property taxes.
"The Farmer's Income Tax Credit Program should be updated to recognize the payment of school taxes that are paid by farmers for land that is leased on a long-term basis," said Senator Larkin. "Over the last 30 years or so, we’ve seen more and more growers take out long-term leases on property that they are farming instead of owning the land out right. This bill will help those individuals who are working hard to take care of the land, grow crops, and preserve open space."
The Senate passed another bill sponsored by Larkin, S.853, that authorizes industrial development agencies (IDA’s) to provide technical and financial assistance to New York farmers. According to the bill, IDA’s would be allowed to use their resources to actively promote, attract, encourage and develop agricultural industries that are based in New York State.
"Under current law, IDA’s can issue loans and provide technical support to manufacturers, processors and warehousers of agricultural products, but not to those businesses that directly grow, harvest or collect these agricultural products," explained Senator Larkin. "Many rural areas of the state could really use additional tools and resources to help promote economic growth for their communities. By allowing the IDA’s to lend even more assistance, this bill would directly help our local farmers, and at the same time, help promote job growth and opportunities in one of New York’s largest industries."
The bills were sent to the Assembly.