Faced with the task of raising food, fiber and fuel for the nation and the world, agricultural producers already are challenged by low commodity prices, increasing input costs, unpredictable weather and complicated trade issues. Farmers and ranchers, whose livelihoods require large amounts of land and equipment, are proud to support their local communities as some of the largest ad valorem tax payers. But when it comes to making a profit, even slight property tax increases can drastically impact bottom lines on farms and ranches.
Property tax usage
In Oklahoma, property tax dollars are used to fund services including local school districts, career technology centers, county governments, county health departments and county libraries.
Because a large share of property tax dollars is derived from agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers want to ensure their funds are spent prudently.
County ad valorem taxes should not be spent on uses not currently authorized by state government….The tax revenue should remain in the county where property is located.”OKFB Policy Book
Property tax increases
Ad valorem taxes have a disproportionate effect on agricultural producers, who have large amounts of land and equipment that is taxed for ad valorem.
Sales tax is paid only when a consumer purchases a product. Income tax is paid only when a consumer makes money. Yet property taxes are due every single year, whether an agricultural producer makes money or not.
When revenues are needed in local communities, Farm Bureau members prefer a broad tax like income tax or sales tax that is paid by all area residents rather than an ad valorem tax increase.
We oppose any increase to rural ad valorem taxes by any municipality…We oppose increases in ad valorem taxes, but if any additional revenues are needed, we would favor use of sales or income taxes which have a broader usage base.”OKFB Policy Book
Fortunately for farmers and ranchers, property tax increases in Oklahoma require a three-fifths “supermajority” approval by area voters. The high threshold for voter approval protects landowners from excessive property tax increases.
We vigorously oppose any increase in the millage limits and object to lowering the approval of bonds from 60 percent to a bare majority vote.”