March 10, 2016
The 2016 session of the Indiana General Assembly ended with tremendous victories for Indiana Farm Bureau and Hoosier farm and rural families. Indiana’s largest farm organization achieved success in its legislative priorities: farmland property taxes, transportation and infrastructure, annexation and tax audits and appeals.
Above all, the passage of SB 308 was the absolute highlight of the session for Indiana agriculture. SB 308 fixes the farmland tax formula and provides much-needed relief to farmers whose farmland taxes have increased 63 percent since 2007. The new formula provides stability to the base value by adding capitalization rates that range between 6 percent and 8 percent, depending on certain factors. SB 308 provides truly significant tax relief, and it could not have come at a more perfect time when crop income has dropped over the last two years.
“We are thrilled with the real solutions passed this session, and we send our most sincere thanks to each legislator who authored and supported the items on our legislative agenda. Special thanks go to Senator Brandt Hershman and Representative Tim Brown who hammered out the farmland tax relief compromise, as well as to Representative Ed Soliday for his leadership on road funding,” said Katrina Hall, INFB’s director of state government relations.
INFB President Randy Kron echoed Hall’s sentiments and stated, “None of these legislative victories could have been achieved without the grassroots engagement of our members. They took time from their farms and families, and found their voice in government by coming to the Statehouse and making other contact with their lawmakers by all means possible.”
Some of the successful bills that are important to agriculture and were supported by INFB during the session include:
- SB 308, farmland property tax relief.
- HB 1001, road funding.
- HB 1215, personal property audits and appeals.
- HB 1298, annexation reform.
- HB 1112, INDOT advisory board.
- HB 1267, food safety.
- HB 1082, environmental rules and policies.
Kron appreciates the hard work and dedication of Farm Bureau members, noting that the legislative accomplishments are the culmination of INFB’s grassroots policy development process.
“Farm Bureau’s legislative positions are all developed at the grassroots level. Members tell us which issues they would like to see addressed at the Statehouse,” said Kron. “We were highly successful in turning those policy positions into 2016 legislation. Now, our focus will shift toward gauging which issues our members would like to be tackled in 2017.”
Kron and Hall also thanked state lawmakers for their cooperation with Farm Bureau on several issues, and for recognizing the enormous impact agriculture has on Indiana’s economy.