California's Farmland Preservation Programs, Taxes, and Furthering the Appropriate Safeguarding of Agriculture at the Urban Fringe to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
51 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2008
Date Written: September 30, 2008
California has long been a leader in both its attempts to preserve land devoted to agricultural production and in its approach to funding its state and local governments. Recently it has become the leader in creating a statewide policy (AB 32) to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases generated within its border. California's policy choices regarding state and local revenue reliance, farmland preservation, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are interrelated. There is concern among environmental and agricultural stakeholders that elements of the system of state and local taxation that developed in California after Proposition 13 discourages the retention of land in agriculture, and this subsequently generates greater urban sprawl in the state. Many of these same stakeholders point to the presence of the state's three major farmland conservation programs (and other programs and multiple policies throughout different codes) as encouraging the retention of agricultural land and thus resulting in less urban sprawl in the state. The overall purpose of this paper is to examine these two claims in as unbiased a manner as academically possible and to offer an opinion on their validity. Such an opinion is necessary to offer an informed comment on the desirability of reforming the state's tax system, and/or expanding the state's system of farmland preservation, to reduce the degree of sprawl experienced in California and thus be better poised to achieve the reduction in GHGs mandated by AB 32.
Keywords: Farmland Preservation, Urban Sprawl, Climate Change, Land Use, taxes
JEL Classification: H2, H3, H7, R1, R5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation