ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Some legislators say it’s time to start over in reforming a program that holds down property taxes in rural Minnesota.
The Green Acres program is meant to protect farmers from tax increases when nearby development drives up land values. After a 2008 report by the Legislative Auditor questioned whether it was working as intended, the Legislature overhauled the plan.
One of the most disputed changes created a distinction between agriculturally productive and non-productive land, which forced owners of participating non-productive land, such as forests and wetlands, to opt for higher taxes or enroll the land in a conservation program.
At the start of three days of hearings Tuesday, sponsors of bills to undo the changes said the two rates are leading farmers to clear-cut wooded acres to avoid higher taxes.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)