Under the Williamson Act, farmers used to get property tax relief from the county. Then the state would reimburse the county for its lost revenues…about a Million dollars in Yolo County’s case. John Young is Yolo County’s Agriculture Commissioner. He says the program was an incentive for counties to keep their land in agriculture.
“What happens is that land ends up being turned into housing developments, into strip malls. The farmers are completely understanding that it’s not a Yolo County issue. This is a statewide issue. We need everybody to send letters to the governor asking him to restore the funding.”
Yolo County Supervisors on Tuesday are set to vote on whether to suspend all new Williamson Act contracts. No decision is expected on existing contracts. Young says that could happen at a later date.
Governor Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto authority this past summer to eliminate nearly all state funding for the "Williamson Act”…to cope with a massive budget deficit.