22nd Alaska State Legislature
Representative John Harris



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State Capitol, Room 513
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-4859
Fax: (907) 465-3799


Sponsor Statement for HB 455
Municipal Taxation of Agricultural Land

"An Act relating to the assessment of farm or agricultural land for purposes of municipal taxation; and providing for an effective date."
Released: March 22, 2002
Contact: Representative John Harris's office at (907) 465-4859

The State of Alaska has been careful to recognize that there is a public purpose served when land used for farming and other agricultural activities is classified and restricted for agricultural use. One key element of restricting land for agricultural use is that, so long as it is so classified and restricted, the land should be assessed and taxed at a rate that is based on farm value, rather than on land sales that are often higher than farm value.

The State recognized the need for assessing fee simple land, used for agriculture, on its farm value and provided a farm exemption under AS 29.45.060. The statute did not specifically include state restricted agricultural use lands, since these lands, by definition, could only be used for agriculture. Unfortunately, the assessment of state restricted agricultural lands is subject to rising taxes as local assessors increasingly use comparable sales to assess these lands while ignoring the agricultural value of these restricted use lands.

Often state restricted agricultural use land cannot meet the requirements of AS 29.45.060. Yet, land sold by the State and restricted to agricultural use can only be used for agricultural purposes, therefore precluding other uses of the land. Thus, assessments should be based on the value of the crops that can be produced, not on other perceived values or land sales.

HB 455 re-affirms the public purposes of the state's designation of certain lands for agricultural purposes only. It removes the requirement that owners of agricultural land apply for and receive a determination of agricultural use before receiving the farm exemption assessment provided by AS 29.45.060.

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Related Links

Farm Exemption

Alaska State Department of Natural Resources Division of Agriculture

HB 82 : Farm Operations: Disclosure/Nuisances

HB 111 : Injuries Resulting from Livestock Activities

HB 128 : Employment of Minors In Agriculture

HB 392 : Water Rights Amendments

HB 432 : Agricultural Program Coordinator/Animal Feed

HB 435 : Prices Paid by Milk Processing Plants

HB 455 : Municipal Taxation of Agricultural Land

SB 60 : Farm Operations: Disclosure/Nuisances

SB 167 : Agricultural Land

SB 352 : Municipal Taxation of Agricultural Land

SB 353 : Agriculture Program Coordinator/Animal Feed

SB 354 : Prices Paid By Milk Processing Plants