SALEM, Ohio — The Ohio Senate passed its version of the state operating budget June 21, which included reforms to Ohio’s formula for calculating Current Agricultural Use Value.
The Senate approved the budget by a vote of 24-8, and the House and Senate will now work out their differences in a conference committee, with a final vote scheduled for June 28.
The reforms are the same as those that have been before the legislature the past three years. Farmers and farm groups have argued for a formula that is more closely tied to agricultural value, and that awards conservation efforts.
The reforms would remove certain non-agricultural factors, such as equity buildup in the capitalization rate formula, and would tax qualifying conservation ground at the lowest taxable value for soil types.
“We are optimistic that they (reforms) will be in the final budget bill ,given that both the House and Senate have included them in their versions,” said Leah Curtis, policy counsel with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
The House approved its own version of the budget bill, with the same CAUV reforms, in a 58-37 vote May 2. Before adding the CAUV reforms to the budget the bill, the Senate also unanimously approved the same reforms in a separate bill, S.B. 36, with a 33-0 vote in favor.
According to Farm Bureau, the changes to the formula would “correct a flaw under which farmland taxes have increased by more than 300 percent in recent years,” and would also “remove penalties” for farmers who apply conservation practices to protect water quality.