‘Greenbelt law’ has loopholes
Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 7:03 pm
By The Knoxville News Sentinel
Preserving family farms and combating sprawl are worthy public policy goals, but Tennessee’s so-called “greenbelt law” is riddled with loopholes that provide tax shelters for some of the state’s wealthiest residents and appears to be ineffective in curbing the development of rural and suburban land.
State officials — beginning with Gov. Bill Haslam, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell — need to conduct a comprehensive review of the law to gauge its effectiveness, refine its aims and end frivolous subsidies that are costing Tennesseans millions of dollars each year.
Tennessee’s farms are vital to the state — agriculture generates $20 billion a year and employs more than 200,000 people — and providing incentives to farmers to preserve farmland has its merits.
But dubious tax breaks for land speculators and wealthy hobbyist farmers must end.Published in The WCP 10.25.12