COLUMBUS – During proponent testimony today for S.B. 36 – a bill that would make minor changes to the state’s formula for valuing farmland – Darke County attorney and Ohio Farmers Union member Ted Finnarn told senators that school funding levies will be nearly impossible to pass in rural Ohio in the coming years.
“In some counties, folks are already organizing and they’re going to vote against all levies, even renewals,” Finnarn said.
“They’re already making the yard signs,” he added.
Finnarn told the Ohio Senate Ways and Means Committee that CAUV – Current Agricultural Use Valuation - has a long and valuable history for agriculture in Ohio. He said that historically low interest rates continue to keep the CAUV formula “out of whack.”
Finnarn, a decades-long member of the Ohio Dept. of Taxation’s Agricultural Advisory Committee told Senators that since CAUV was instituted in the 1970s, the Ohio General Assembly has tweaked the formula at least six times through legislation. He also said that formula has been tweaked through state Tax Dept. authority nearly two dozen times.
“There’s been some scary information put out that school districts are going to lose money,” if S.B. 36 becomes law, Finnarn said.
“We don’t think those reports are accurate,” Finnarn said, adding that as in most every other state budget, the General Assembly will alter the school foundation formula so that public education is not adversely affected by S.B. 36.
Local Comments from Ted Finnarn, Attorney, CAUV Advisory Committee on February 22, 2017
“Farmers are at the breaking point with out of control CAUV tax valuations.”
Finnarn also noted that coming up on March 21st, 2017, there’s going to be a sad Ag Day in Ohio since Agriculture in our state is now descending into a very weak position; are we still the #1 industry in Ohio? Do we still provide 1 in 7 jobs in Ohio? Is Ohio agriculture still vibrant and thriving? The answers to these questions may be a resounding “No”. Ohio now ranks in the top three of states for the highest in agricultural farm real estate taxes, behind Indiana and Nebraska. Unless this situation is corrected, farmers will be taxed out of existence and this will especially hurt the smaller family farms and the organic and non-GMO farm enterprises.
“This will also effect all local school levies in the future because farmers have experienced ‘unvoted’ real estate tax increases in the past five to seven years of up to 800% and remember they did not act to vote on these increases. That’s taxation without representation”, he added. Therefore, all tax levies, including renewals, are in jeopardy. Also, it should be noted that the shifting of the tax burden to local rural tax payers is “unconstitutional” under the four Ohio Supreme Court DeRolf decisions that were litigated from 1991 through 2003.
Other information and other direct quotes can be obtained from Ted Finnarn at 937.548.3240 or 937.417.4104.