COLUMBUS—Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today announced the passage of legislation which would update the way agricultural property values are calculated in order to provide much needed tax relief to Ohio’s farmers.

Senate Bill 36, which President Obhof co-sponsored, would modify the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) formula, which determines the value of farmland for property taxation purposes. The bill aims to set a more realistic and stable expectation of taxes owed by farmers. Some commodity prices dropped significantly in the last several years while the CAUV formula simultaneously caused farm property assessments to increase, putting many farming businesses in jeopardy. Recent farmland property taxes have increased by as much as 200-300% in some areas of the state.

“Our farmers need a reliable tax policy that values their land fairly—not skyrocketing rates that tax them out of business," said Obhof. "Senate Bill 36 will help ensure long-term stability for our agricultural communities."

Senate Bill 36 also recognizes the efforts Ohio farmers have made in protecting the state's water supply. For farms setting aside acreage for conservation efforts, the new CAUV policy will ensure the lowest taxable level on that land.

“This bill is more than tax reform. It is also about encouraging conservation,” added Obhof. “This bill will course-correct state policy. Farmers should not be unfairly penalized for protecting our natural resources."

CAUV is a property tax relief program for agricultural land in Ohio. It is the result of a voter referendum from 1973 that allows farmland to be taxed according to its agricultural value, as apposed to full market value. This program is considered a “differential assessment,” a type of tax relief used for agricultural lands in the United States.

Senate Bill 36 now moves to the Ohio House for consideration.

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