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Texas is a major agricultural state and we recognize that the state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that its tax policy does not improperly disincentivize continued agricultural land use. To the extent that the farming and ranching community is aging, and younger prospective farmers and ranchers are unable to afford open space land due to the current qualifier that the land must have been in agricultural use for five of the past seven years, some reforms may be necessary.
Our objection to this bill is that it violates limited government by making reforms that only benefit two narrow sets of people - those under 35 years of age and veterans - to the exclusion of others who would remain locked into the current flawed system. It is not the proper role of a limited government to create a special system that benefits preferred special classes while excluding others. For these reasons we oppose SB 330. If the bill were amended to reform the "five of seven" system so that the reforms would be broadly available to everyone, we would support the amended bill.