COLUMBIA—State Rep. Rick Martin (R-40) introduced a piece of legislation on Thursday designed to protect agricultural land from being taxed at residential or commercial rates.
The introduced bill, H. 3463, would provide that if any property was assessed as agricultural property, farm machinery or equipment for 2016, that property must continue to be taxed at agricultural rates as long as it retains its agricultural use. The bill currently resides in the House Committee on Ways and Means.
“The laws currently on the books give counties the power to define property how they see fit,” Martin said. “What my bill does is secure tax ratios for agricultural property. This way, your property can’t be re-categorized unless it’s sold and/or redeveloped.”
Martin says he has been contacted by members of the agricultural community and citizens from all across the state, and he believes this bill will serve as a remedy to their concerns.
“The best thing we can do for our state’s farmers is to minimize the tax burden that’s placed on them,” Martin said. “This bill neither raises nor lowers any taxes. It simply ensures that agricultural land is taxed at agricultural rates. I think that’s something everyone can get behind.”
Martin’s bill already has bipartisan support, having signed on 21 Republicans and 8 Democrats as co-sponsors. If approved by Ways and Means, the bill will go to the floor of the House of Representatives.
Martin represents Newberry County in the South Carolina House of Representatives, and currently serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs. He resides in Newberry with his wife, Fran, and their four daughters.