Letters to the Editor

Problems with farm tax breaks

I read with great interest your Dec. 18 editorial and the previous articles regarding property tax on land receiving the agricultural assessment.

The original statute governing the agricultural property tax implementation was developed in 1970 following the 1969 constitutional amendment. This tax system was intended to preserve Kentucky farmland.

The legislature’s 1992 changes appear to be the root cause of the problems you have reported. That law dramatically alters what was done in 1970 by dropping the proof of farming requirements, and doesn’t seem to reflect the wording and intent of the 1969 constitutional amendment. It may therefore be unconstitutional.

Finally, the issue of PVAs granting agricultural valuation to land that is not farmed (post 1992) with the attendant loss of revenue for schools and government, appears to be a statewide problem. The system has a double negative effect in heavily wooded Eastern Kentucky: The revenue loss; and it fails to encourage long-term timber farming, which could limit important tree species and the full potential of Kentucky woodland.

As a tree farmer, I have long been interested in this issue. We must continue to call for action to make Kentucky’s farmed land tax values correct and equitable.

James T. Corum

Stoney Fork