Excise Tax on Land Represents a targeted assault on Kansas Ag

The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) is urging farmers and ranchers to contact their state senators and express opposition to SB 302. If the bill is approved by the Kansas Legislature, it would impose a $3 per acre excise tax on all land in Kansas. The effect, according to KLA projections, would increase the current average property tax of $4.67 per acre on Kansas agricultural land by 64%.  

"This bill represents a direct and targeted assault on Kansas farmers and ranchers, who, unlike homeowners, depend on the land for their livelihood, said KLA President Jaret Moyer, a rancher from Emporia. We must deliver this message to our state senators.                

SB 302 is expected to come to a vote in the Kansas Senate as an amendment to a tax package sometime during the week of May 11. Farmers and ranchers can weigh in on the bill by calling the legislative hotline number at (800) 432-3924. Constituents can either ask the person answering how to contact their legislator or leave a message for their legislator.                

Although supporters claim SB 302 is an excise tax, KLA legal analysis shows it is a property tax that violates Article 11, Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution. The state constitution requires all agricultural land be valued and assessed based on its agricultural income or agricultural productivity.                

The impact of SB 302 would be especially burdensome for livestock producers, as it would increase the average property tax on grassland from $1.38 per acre to $4.38 per acre, a 217% jump. In addition, landowners in western Kansas with less productive ground would be penalized more severely than those in the eastern part of the state. Kansas agriculture is one of the key economic drivers in the state. 

According to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, it accounts for 37% of the states overall economy. Farmland comprises 89% of the total land area in Kansas, which means farmers and ranchers would bear that percentage of the additional tax burden if the bill passed. Moyer said adding a tax of this nature would have a broad negative effect on the Kansas economy. This is a punitive tax that will take money out of the pockets of farm families and hurt the Main Street businesses in rural Kansas, said Moyer. KLA is a trade organization representing the states livestock business on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at both the state and federal levels. The associations work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.

Source: KLA release

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