Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Yesterday Ohio lawmakers heard first hand how the state’s Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula is impacting farms in the state during testimony on proposed S.B. 36 before the Ohio Senate Ways and Means Committee.Ohio farmers saw a 307% increase in property taxes between 2008 and 2014. Those higher taxes are now being paid at a time when some farm crop prices have fallen as much as 50%. In the testimony, Farm Bureau State Trustee Mike Bensman, who farms in Shelby County, told lawmakers, “For those of you who have worked in small business, ask yourselves if you would be able to manage a tax increase of 300 percent. It’s not an easy thing to budget for.”Katherine Harrison owns a small livestock farm in southeastern Franklin County and also is a Farm Bureau state trustee. She recently repurchased a portion of the family farm where she will be the fifth generation to work the land. “I anticipate (the farm) can bring in about $180 per acre per year. The taxes run approximately $120 per acre per year. That leaves a possible net of $60 per acre per year to pay down a loan for $300,000 to purchase the land.”They argued in favor of Senate Bill 36, which would remove incorrect assumptions in the CAUV calculation formula and make the formula less affected by non-farm factors. The bill would also remove a disincentive for farmers to adopt practices that protect water quality.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.”Finnarn said CAUV has a long and valuable history for agriculture in Ohio but historically low interest rates continue to keep the 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.