Efforts to change tax exemptions for farm land are drawing concerns from a state lawmaker.
A provision in the Senate version of the state budget would end a tax break for farmers on land used for agricultural purposes, which may also be zoned for future development. State Senator Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) says the change in "use value" doesn't belong in the budget and needs to be examined on its own.
Supporters of the change, such as state Senator Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls), say it's needed to prevent abuses of the system by non-farmers. Kreitlow says many developers are getting a property ready for use, but manage to avoid paying property taxes by throwing a few token stalks of corn out on the land and calling it an agricultural use.
If that's the case, Kapanke says action needs to be taken. However, he says legit farming operations shouldn't be punished as well. Even if the land is pegged for future development, Kapanke says farmers shouldn't lose the tax credit as long as crops are still being grown there.