While in Washington there is still no agreement on estate and other federal tax issues, it is a different story in Indianapolis. Bob Kraft, with Indiana Farm Bureau, says the incoming Governor, Lt. Governor, and General Assembly are all in agreement that the productivity formula on farmland needs to be eliminated. Kraft told HAT that lawmakers plan to tie the hands of the bureaucrats who want to raise farmland assessments significantly, “The Governor, Lt. Governor, and Legislature understand the issue far better than the Department of Local Government Finance. I think we are going to see some efforts to tie the hands of the DLGF.”
Kraft says the move last year by the state agency to force changes in the productivity factor, which would have increased some farmland tax rates by 35%, did not sit well with farmers, but it also did not sit well with legislators who felt the state agency was overstepping its authority, “I think their efforts to make changes unilaterally have been very ill-received by the General Assembly.” Kraft says, with the support of Farm Bureau members, it should be possible to delay any changes in the productivity factor for at least another year, perhaps indefinitely, “or at least until a better solution is found.”
Lt. Governor Ellspermann has gone on record as saying a one year delay in the assessment will be introduced in the upcoming session. Kraft said it is likely lawmakers will make it impossible for state agencies to make any major changes in farmland assessment protocols without the consent of the General Assembly.