Ranchers wait as land tax bill heads to committee

House Bill 1039, which would reassess certain agriculture land to non-cropland, is set to be heard in the Senate Taxation Committee next week.

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. — As the South Dakota Legislative session continues, lawmakers are tasked with gaining and raising support for bills they’ve dropped.

House Bill 1039, which would reassess certain agriculture land to non-cropland, is set to be heard in the Senate Taxation Committee next week.

With Governor Noem stating her opposition for the way the bill is written earlier this week, those who wrote the bill are working to answer questions and alleviate concerns.

But it’s safe to say that ranchers in western South Dakota aren’t happy with what they call unfair tax hikes on their land.

At a cracker barrel session in Hot Springs on Saturday, those ranchers met with legislators to voice their concerns.

Six years ago, a soil reassessment stated that their land was to be taxed as cropland, which means the land can be used to grow crops.

But local ranchers say, that’s not possible.

“In our area last year we have a weather station we had 10 inches of rain, I said rain, I should have said moisture total for last year’s moisture,” said Joe Falkenburg, who ranches near Hot Springs. “You can’t raise anything with that except cactus.”

That soil category carries nearly a higher tax rate, causing some to pay over 300 percent more on their taxes.

“It’s taxation that’s unfair because they want people to pay taxes on land that cannot be farmed. It has never been farmed. It will never be farmed,” Falkenburg said.

District 30 Representative Trish Ladner, who’s heading up HB 1039, says that it will spread the taxes out based on each county specifically.

Putting less of a burden on ranchers to foot the bill.

“There’s no increase or change in the general fund, no change in the the counties, municipalities. Zero impact on schools, but it will just be spread out over the taxes over the other part of the population as well as the ranchers,” Rep. Ladner said.

If passed by the committee, HB 1039 would head to the full senate for debate and a potential vote.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Ag, ConnectCenter1-Business, Local News, South Dakota News