05/24/2012 14:01

Agricultural Land Use land owners receive subsidies

May 17, 2012

Essex County has 165,120 acres according to the Essex Department of Revenue; as of December, 2011, there are 114,167 conservation acres  in land use programs or conservation easements.  In only 5 years our BOS has allowed 72% of this counties property into Land Use and the owners pay reduced taxes. Also, many residents do not own homes or property and do not pay taxes, while over 23% of our citizens are on welfare.

Properties in Land Use are calculated by parcels (could be one acre, or one thousand.)   Residential property is calculated by the acre.  Why not calculate the same?  

Agricultural Land Use land owners receive subsidies and grants from state and federal levels to pay their local taxes.  Why do they receive a county tax reduction as well?  Why do we see them sporting race boats, pulling tractors and monster trucks?  Could they do that if the subsidies were properly used?   If they paid their fair share, the money still wouldn’t be coming out of their own pockets.  Farmers are supposed to use federal subsidy money to pay their local taxes.  This is only fair, considering  working citizens pay state and federal taxes and some of that money would come back to them locally.  Let’s not forget, the farmer also makes an income from what he produces. According to a recent Agriculture article in the Richmond Times Dispatch , “the proper level of subsidies is simple: zero”.  

You make comments like, “Land doesn’t send children to school” to rationalize your decision.  In case you haven’t noticed, neither do the elder people you are laying the tax increases on.  Conservation has its place in America, but not right now, and certainly not at the expense of the people, in the way it is being done today.

Pat Roth

Tappahannock, VA  22560





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