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Rent-a-cow operations still used for tax breaks

The St. Petersburg Times reports today that Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson is seeking a major property tax break by leasing his 20-acre property to a part-time cattle farmer for $20 a year.

631cow01embeddedprod_affiliate Abuse of Florida's so-called "greenbelt law,'' which lowers taxes on land used for agriculture, has deprived the state of millions of dollars of revenue. Read The Miami Herald's three-part series here.

Remember who blocked a bill aimed at reforming the law in 2006? It was none other than former Sen. Rod Smith, the chairman of the agriculture committee, who went on to lose the Democratic primary for governor.

Comments

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Fred

Maybe it's time for a new Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections

truth

You know in my opinion the greenbelt law has not been abused. People just don't get it. Even if a developer pays 3-4 times appraised value for property then has it leased out to a cattle farmer there is nothing wrong with that. The cattle rancher is still getting to use property to raise his lively hood on. People just don't like to see developers catching a break. Well you tell me one piece of property that is developed now that once was not ag land. Yes greenbelt helps developers but see the greater picture here. It helps the farmers out as well. Maybe if local and state governments did a better job of managing their funds then property appraisers wouldn't be such jerks to try and get the greenbelt changed like what has been happening around our state recently.

SWFL Resident Tax Payer

doesn't anyone (including the commenter "truth") realize that most of these land owners just put cattle on the land and don't use them for dairy or meat products--- no agricultural purpose. they simply put up cheap fencing and put cattle on the land to get the tax break. most of these cattle look neglected and emaciated. no one comes by to provide care to the animals. the landowner just wants to keep the land so that when property values increase over time they can sell the land and cash in, and the years of ownership they barely paid any taxes so they make outrageous profits. there is no point except just getting a tax break.

Marie

So what -cows and horses out in a field is way better then just a piece of land just sitting there.

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