My opinion? If you’re running for office in NJ, you oughta be paying full freight on your make-believe farm. If you’re getting too old to make $10k a year on your land and you are a real farmer, then put it into the landbank and keep your farmland assessment. But this idiot game of selling two trees to your bro-in-law for $500 and smiling all the way to the bank as you pay 1/10th of what everyone else in your neighborhood does, just because you can afford five acres and an accountant – that’s just an entitlement issue you need to overcome. You’re not entitled to a tax break because you have a nice big property. See the following in today’s CP:
In New York State, the following eligibility requirements must be met.
* Land generally must consist of seven or more acres that were used for the preceding two years for the production for sale of crops, livestock, or livestock products.
* The annual gross sales of agricultural products generally must average $10,000 or more for the preceding two years. If an agricultural enterprise is less than seven acres, it may qualify if average annual gross sales equal $50,000 or more.
Not so much a play farm anymore, is it? I’m totally in favor of farmland preservation – it’s rich guy playground preservation I’ve got a problem with. And I didn’t like it any better when Ellen Karcher did than when Christine Todd Whitman did – and Whitman actually had a pretty good case for being a “real” farmer, considering the ridiculously low bar set in NJ.
Time to raise the bar. Let the rich guys land bank it if they don’t want to pay the full tax. I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of the landbank process and whether this would constitute an egregious example of eminent domain run amok – I just know I don’t approve of 5 acre “play farmettes” paying dramatically lower tax rates than 1/4 acre properties on contiguous lots.