|Posted:||January 18, 2017 12:30 PM|
|From:||Senator Judith L. Schwank and Sen. Elder A. Vogel, Jr.|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Clean and Green - Agriculture-related enterprises|
|In the near future, we will reintroduce legislation that more closely aligns eligibility standards for the Farmland Preservation and Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act ("Clean-and-Green") programs.
As an example of the problems and confusion created by current differences, a Berks County farm owner whose land is enrolled in both programs leased an outbuilding to a landscaping business for tool and equipment storage once county officials confirmed that his property would continue to qualify for preferential treatment. Afterwards, he learned the business qualified only under Farmland Preservation because Clean-and-Green separately requires the landowner to own and operate enterprises located on a property. As a result of this needless confusion, signing the lease disqualified his Clean-and-Green eligibility and subjected him to a significant claw-back of previous tax discounts.
Our proposal simply would amend Clean-and-Green standards to allow a landowner to lease an area to a third-party without becoming ineligible for Clean-and-Green or facing its claw-back if the lease is for a rural enterprise qualified for Farmland Preservation treatment. Since Farmland Preservation's inception, state, county and local governments have spent over $1 billion through it. Counties and the state also have been partners in implementing the Clean and Green program that has helped farmers reduce their property tax burden as well. This minor revision will ensure that our investment will continue to benefit farmers and assist beginning farmers who lease farms under Clean and Green. co-sponsors of SB 201 in the last session include Senators Yudichak,Boscola, Costa, Vulakovich, Rafferty, Ward and Browne.
Introduced as SB823