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Opinion

November 25, 2013

Magee has helped farmers a great deal

On behalf of the Otsego County Farm Bureau, I want to thank Assemblyman Bill Magee for standing up for family farms here at home and at the state Capitol. One of his recent accomplishments for farmers was introducing legislation that capped the rise in agricultural assessment values at 2 percent, which passed the state Assembly and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Magee has gone to great lengths to teach his Assembly colleagues about agriculture, and rallied his fellow lawmakers to support this bill, which will control annual increases in farmland values. I appreciate the stability that this new law will bring to farmland values, which will help farmers have a property tax bill they can budget for.

As a farmer, I am used to dealing with uncertainties like extreme weather and equipment breakdowns, but property taxes are one area where I don’t want any uncertainty or surprises. Assemblyman Magee understands what it means to farm in New York, and I would like to publicly thank him for bringing that perspective to Albany for farmers like me.

There were a lot of people involved in the process of getting this legislation passed. The proposal to cap agricultural assessment values at 2 percent was started by farmers at a County Farm Bureau policy and development meeting. So I would also like to thank all of the farmers, landowners and Farm Bureau members and staff who contacted legislators and Gov. Cuomo. I would like to thank Sen. Seward, Assemblyman Crouch, and Assemblywoman Tenney for co-sponsoring and voting in favor of this bill, as well as Assemblyman Lopez for supporting and voting in favor of this bill, and Gov. Cuomo for signing this important measure into law.

Harold Palmer

Maryland

Palmer is president of the Otsego County Farm Bureau.

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