Farmers, ranchers celebrate defeat of split-roll tax measure

Crediting a unified effort by California farmers, ranchers and their organizations, California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson thanked voters for rejecting the split-roll tax measure on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The initiative, Proposition 15, would have allowed reassessment and higher property taxes on a variety of business properties, including agricultural structures and improvements such as barns, dairies, wineries, processing plants, vineyards and orchards. Nearly 52% of voters rejected the measure in votes counted to date; the Associated Press projected its defeat last night.

“Farmers can breathe a little easier today, knowing their hard work made the difference to turn back the largest property tax increase in California history, which would have created havoc for family farmers and ranchers across our state,” Johansson said during a virtual news conference conducted today by the measure’s opponents.

“For months, we’ve said Prop 15 would hurt farmers, ranchers and ultimately all families, through higher food prices,” Johansson said. “What’s clear from these results is that more than 8 million California voters recognized this reality and agreed with our efforts to stop this ill-advised initiative.”

CFBF, Western Growers and the Agricultural Council of California formed a coalition, Family Farmers Against Prop 15, which mobilized rural voters to reject the tax measure. Johansson thanked the more than 1,000 family farmers who contributed $250 or less to the campaign and who recognized how damaging the measure would have been to rural communities.

“Many California voters were already struggling with the affordability crisis facing our state before COVID-19, and even more are struggling now,” he said. “The defeat of Prop 15 can be seen as a rejection of this specific, harmful measure, but also as a broader call to our elected officials to stop enacting costly policies that hurt farmers, consumers and businesses.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 34,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.

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