The Senate Finance & Revenue Committee on May 17th moved a gutted and stuffed Senate Bill (SB) 596A to the floor with a do pass recommendation. Committee members concluded that the bill would provide a bright line to county assessors, who are giving varied treatment to certain farm personal property equipment.

In its current incarnation, SB 596A by expanding ORS 307.397 exempts from property taxation machinery and equipment used to compress and bale harvested straw, hay, grass or other plants, for the purpose of storage or shipment. The bill specifies that such equipment is tangible personal property, and unlike a previous amendment, does not apply retroactively. The equipment is still taxable if it is functioning to process the plants.

The committee responded positively to suggestions by Polk County Assessor Doug Schmidt to his suggested improvements to the initial set of amendments. Assessor Schmidt, representing the Oregon State Association of County Assessors, estimated the administrative cost to counties statewide to implement this bill at $8,640. Revenue impact to counties statewide is estimated at less than $100,0