The state’s leading agricultural groups have strongly opposed the Proposition 15 ballot initiative on property taxes since early in the campaign. They fear the proposal would add an $11 billion tax on farms and other businesses by reassessing everything but the farmland at fair market value. Yet two progressive farm groups have come out in support of the measure.

The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) argues Prop. 15 would actually benefit farmers. Prop. 15 “explicitly does not apply to real property used for commercial agricultural production,” the group claims. By reassessing commercial and industrial property valued at more than $3 million, the measure would exempt small businesses.

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CAFF acknowledges that “in some situations, it’s possible that a few of these costs may be passed on to some of those farms,” such as large winery tasting rooms or a milk processing facility. The group argues, however, the need for funding schools with the new taxes outweighs those concerns.

Likewise, the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) called it “extremely unlikely” that Prop. 15 would lead to higher taxes on fixtures and improvements to the land. 

“Tax fairness will give local and state governments the resources needed to invest in our communities,” according to CalCAN.

Both groups are often at odds with the rest of the industry on legislative measures as well.