New regulation allows counties to preserve more local farmland

October 16, 1990

Under a new regulation, counties with state-certified agricultural land preservation programs will keep more of their local tax revenue obtained from agricultural land sales and apply that money to preserving more farmland.

Previously, counties would keep a third of the revenue from the transfer tax on agricultural land and send the rest to a state fund for purchasing development rights to farmland. Under the new regulation approved Tuesday by the Joint Committee on Adminstrative, Executive and Legislative Review, counties would keep three-quarters of that revenue.

All the agricultural transfer tax revenue, whether it stays in the county that raised it or goes to the state, is earmarked for paying agricultural landowners to surrender their right to sell the land at a higher price for real estate development. Some county programs have the county buy the development rights, while others tap into the state's share of the agricultural transfer tax.

Counties relying on the state pool of agricultural land preservation money may find less to draw upon, said Joseph Tassone, a principal planner at the Maryland Office of Planning, but another revenue source for that pool will be contributing more.

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