Tax cap proposal promises relief for farms

By Matt Porter

July 10, 2013 Updated Jul 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Norwich farmer Drew Piaschyk has been tilling his field in Plymouth for more than 30 years, but he said in the past five years his property taxes have increased by 50 percent.

"I can't really compete with garlic that's grown in China or shipped in from California here in tractor trailer load," Piaschyk said.

Senators in the Southern Tier responded by joining a new movement called "Grown in New York," to push new bills supporting New York's largest industry.

With New York's farmers' property taxes averaging $38.41 per acre, they're paying the second most in the nation, according to Farm Credit East, an accounting firm for farmers.

Last month, the assembly joined the Senate in approving a 2 percent tax cap on increases for annual farm assessments.

Sen. Tom O'Mara, R-Big Flats, said helping keep farmers in business will outweigh any losses in revenue by imposing the tax cap.

"We need to be more cognizant of how our taxes affect the cost of living and the cost of doing business in New York state," O'Mara said.

As for Piaschyk, he said unless more can be done to balance soaring costs in farming, he may not last.

"If we can't do that, sell our product for more than our costs, then we're just going to go out of business," he said.

The tax cap bill still needs to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo before it can take effect.

That may not happen until the next legislative session, which begins in January.

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