From today’s Albany Times Union…
New York’s family farms are anxiously awaiting resolution on an issue that is threatening their livelihood and a significant piece of the state’s economy. This past June, the Legislature rightfully and unanimously passed legislation that ensures the assessed value of agricultural land can increase no more than 2 percent in any given year.
Now it is up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s pen.
Agriculture contributes billions to the state’s economy and currently 23 percent of the state’s land area is used by farmers. Without a cap on the annual percent increase for agriculture assessments, many family farms will be forced to sell their land, permanently altering this valuable and necessary component of New York’s economy, especially in upstate. Imagine the prices for milk or produce if our family farms buckle under the pressure of taxes. Envision the upstate economy without agribusiness.
New York’s economy remains stagnant and reinvigorating the upstate economy continues to get lip service but little action from Albany. The governor needs to understand the integral role our family farms play in New York’s present and future economy and address the threats they face. We understand the fiscal plight our schools and communities are facing. In fact, the National Federation of Independent Business continues to push for significant and comprehensive mandate relief to ease those burdens. Signing this legislation into law is paramount to upstate’s economy and will send a message to our family farms that Albany is working for them.
We strongly urge the governor to sign this legislation to preserve family farming in New York and the state’s economy.
Durant is the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.