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Lawmakers Oppose Davis on Williamson Act

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30 lawmakers are urging their colleagues to reject Governor Davis´ plan to stop compensating counties that give property tax breaks to growers who agree to keep their land in agriculture for at least 10 years.

The 18 Democrats and 12 Republicans say the Williamson Act program has curbed leapfrog development and protected farmland and open space for nearly 40 years. They say that if the state discontinues the payments counties will be forced to drop out of the program. The Williamson Act provides for lower property taxes for owners who sign contracts to keep their land as agricultural land, wildlife habitat, recreation sites or open space for at least 10 years.

The property is assessed based on its current usage instead of its potential value if developed for commercial or residential use.

Davis´ budget-balancing plan includes eliminating the $39 million the state pays counties to make up for revenue they lose because of the contracts.