Warning that an initiative on property taxes threatens harm to rural communities, the California Farm Bureau Federation has voted to oppose it. Known as Initiative 19-0008, the measure would establish a split-roll property tax that would reassess commercial and industrial property, including agricultural facilities. Backers are collecting signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.
“It’s unusual for Farm Bureau to oppose a measure at this early stage, but our board of directors is very concerned about the impact this initiative would have on rural California,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. “Although its backers claim agricultural land would not be affected, the initiative would trigger annual tax reassessments at market value for agricultural improvements such as barns, dairies, wineries, processing plants, vineyards and orchards.”
Johansson said Farm Bureau opposes efforts to weaken Proposition 13, the 1978 tax-reform measure that limits property tax increases.
“Proposition 13 protects California farmers by giving them certainty about their property tax bills,” he said. “The split-roll measure would increase the tax burden on California farmers at a time when family farms and ranches already face threats to their water supplies and rising costs to comply with the state’s employment and environmental regulations.”
Johansson said measures that increase costs for family farmers and ranchers undermine their ability to supply jobs, especially in rural California, and their ability to supply food and farm products for customers in California and worldwide.
“The split-roll tax initiative would add more economic pressure on rural areas that are already under strain, and that’s why we oppose it,” he said.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 34,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.