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The Comptroller's office reports that there would be a one-time administrative cost in FY 2016 of $175,000, in addition to projections of diminished revenue to local governmental entities.
HB 1900, if passed, would modify the Tax Code (Section 23.51 – Appraisal of Agricultural Land) by making the code more consistent. A number of changes would be made to the code. The first would require that the chief appraiser distinguish between the intensity of various agricultural methods when making his appraisal. Most of the changes are clarifications of this degree, such as the addition to code which would explicitly list fruit and vegetable production under “agricultural use”.
The most significant change which HB 1900 would introduce a new section (23.5215) which is titled “Guidelines for Uncommon Agricultural Uses” which is essentially a procedural addition which requires the comptroller (in consultation with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service) to distribute land use guidelines to each appraisal district.
We find no reason to deny bona fide community gardens (and other "unusual" agricultural projects) the same tax treatment as traditional agricultural lands. This bill would help the Comptroller's office and Texas A&M clarify what constitutes a community garden and what does not, and make it easier to understand for those wishing to engage in non-traditional agriculture. We support HB 1900 on the basis of limited government for making the tax code more understandable.