Kansas Cattlemen Supports Producers on Proposed Tax Bill
State Senator Jeff Melcher of Johnson County recently sponsored Senate Bill SB178. The Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) stands in support of producers and in strong opposition to this legislation that would excessively tax agricultural land. The largest economic contributor in Kansas is agriculture. Rural Kansans already rely heavily on local producers for viability of their communities. If this bill passes, there will inevitably be a loss of small and medium size operations, turning Kansas communities into ghost towns. Excessive taxing of agricultural land will negatively affect Kansas agriculture, producers, rural communities, and the overall Kansas economy.
The proposed bill replaces the “use-value” formula with an “average gross cash rental” formula to determine valuations in farmland property taxes. Landowners could expect to see average increases to land valuations of nearly 500%. In addition, landowners will no longer have the ability to adjust valuation for expenses incurred by owning, maintaining, and managing the land.
"KCA is at the statehouse talking to legislators, especially those not from a rural background, explaining the need to maintain the current tax structure for ag land use. The Kansas farmer and rancher have been doing more than their fair share for years, being the keystone for their local communities and for this state. This great state was founded on the principles of the hard-working farmer; it would be devastating to lose great role models and the values and morals that come with them because they were taxed out of business. Because agricultural land is limited, producers are also limited in production. Producers cannot feed more cattle per acre of grassland to absorb such exorbitant tax increases, when there isn’t the vegetation to sustain the herd size. Producers cannot plant crops in tighter rows and expect quality grains and sustainable yields. Commercial land is held by companies with less committed investment into the future of the Kansas economy, where producers are stewards of the land. Where commercial property is often enhanced for profit, agricultural land is enhanced to allow its sustainability and its longevity. Producers need that land to feed the world, so it is important to preserve the land for agricultural use. Instead of excessively taxing, the state should remain vigilant to providing initiatives and tax structures that support agriculture and enhance the ability to be an independent producer," stated KCA Executive Director Tyler Dupy.
Senator Melcher first introduced the bill in 2014. The bill is currently in the Assessment and Taxation committee, in which Senator Melcher chairs. KCA encourages all Kansans to support local producers and contact their respective state legislators to voice their thoughts, opinions, and concerns on this bill. Find your state legislator at www.kslegisture.gov.