INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Wednesday a property tax shift that will save Hoosier farmers $57 million, but leave property taxes unchanged for homeowners and businesses.
Senate Enrolled Act 319 is the first law enacted by the 2013 Indiana General Assembly and the first to carry the signature of the Republican governor, who took office Jan. 14.
Pence said he was proud the first law he signed cuts taxes and helps the state's $26 billion agriculture industry.
"By lowering assessments, we are lowering taxes on family farmers and we are affirming the strong commitment of the people of Indiana to agriculture in the Hoosier State and the family farm in particular," Pence said.
The new law requires property assessors to use 2011 soil productivity factors through 2015 to calculate the value of farmland for property tax purposes. The Department of Local Government Finance released new soil productivity factors last year that would have raised land values and property taxes for most farmers.
All farmland has an assessed base rate of $1,630 per acre. That rate is adjusted based on soil productivity and other factors.
Had the scheduled increase in agricultural land values gone into effect, homeowners and businesses likely would have paid less in property taxes during the next three years.