Lobbyists might be on the list of least appreciated people anywhere. Yet when they do their job and do it above board, they can make a difference in what comes out of the legislature that might affect your pocketbook.
Recently, a lobbyist for a farm organization related that almost every year after the session, someone, a dues paying member, approaches and says, "You didn't do much for us this time." The lobbyist can answer truthfully almost every time. "Yes, but you don't realize what things that would have cost you money that didn't get passed because we were there."
That certainly appears to be the case for landowners this time. Kent Yeager, Indiana Farm Bureau, reports that near the end of the session, there was a proposal to add a soil productivity tax on bare farmland that would have changed assessed value. In some cases, it could have changed it by a large amount, and resulted in much higher property tax bills.
Such a move shouldn't be unexpected. Many said that when the property tax caps were put in place, and local schools and government ran short of funds due to the caps, as they are now, someone would find a way around the maze to get needed funds.
After some hard lobbying by Indiana Farm Bureau and others, the legislature agreed to delay using the soil productivity index for one year. That will save big dollars in property taxes for many people for 2012.
However, Yeager notes that the concept was just delayed for a year, not killed. It appears it will be back next year. The soil productivity index is above the calculated amount of bare farmland value figured by the complicated, six-year formula used to determine land values.