While the Unicameral considers changing how agricultural land is assessed for property tax purposes, one critic says it’ll have little impact on farmers’ tax bills.
Cedar County Assessor Donald Hoesing says any changes enacted in Lincoln won’t significantly lower taxes, especially in rural counties.
“Because we’re ag land counties, the ag land is still going to bear the brunt of the tax load no matter which way you go,” Hoesing says. “If they change how we value it and say the value goes down, the tax request doesn’t go down as well. The taxes will remain the same. The levy will be adjusted.”
Hoesing says there’s still precious little information coming from the capitol about how the changes would be implemented.
“They don’t really have a refined idea yet of how it’s going to work or who would come up with the equation as far as the income approach,” Hoesing says. “From what we’ve heard, it would be arrived at in Lincoln and then sent out to the counties and then we’d have to adjust, according to our own county, how we applied that equation.”
As long as the spending requests remain the same, Hoesing says landowners will likely end up paying about the same amount in property taxes.
“It just doesn’t appear to any of us assessors like that’s the answer, Hoesing says, “because when most of your tax base is ag land, it’s still going to carry the load no matter how they want to value it.”
The property tax changes are attached to a bill proposed by Governor Pete Ricketts that also aims to reform income taxes.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton