Goss: Base property taxes on farmers' income
Friday, March 17, 2017 3:38 PM
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss notes that even as farm income continues to fall amid weak commodity prices, local taxing jurisdictions have continued to pump up valuations, and the taxes that go with them. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects net farm income to drop 8.7 percent this year. Farmland values in a 10-state Midwest region Goss studies grew 11.4 percent from 2013 to 2014, as farm earnings dropped 18 percent. Spending for public school students rose by 3.3 percent in the same period. "While more recent data are not available, anecdotal evidence indicates this same pattern has continued with lower farm income, higher K-12 education spending, and ballooning property tax burdens on farmland with significantly lower, and even negative net farm income," Goss wrote in a column. He called for decreased K-12 education spending and a change that would base property taxes on farmers' income. He also supports local option sales taxes. "Shifting the property tax burden to state sales and income taxes via state aid to local units has not and will not work," Goss wrote. "Historical evidence shows that cutting property taxes lasts for only two or three years, and that it is followed by excessive property tax growth plus higher income and/or state sales taxes."