July 25, 2014
For responding to our survey regarding the action alert process and member engagement. Your feedback is valuable. Congratulations to Eugene Whitehead, winner of four state fair tickets.
LIVESTOCK ADVOCACY ON THE COUNTY LEVEL – IF NOT YOU, WHO? Around the state, farmers continue to face opposition from communities over livestock expansion growth. Two most recent area plan commission & board of zoning appeals meetings serve as reminders of the opportunity for county Farm Bureau boards to engage with local elected and appointed officials. Members of the opposition seldom miss an opportunity to advocate their position with local decision-makers, but it is seldom offset by pro-ag forces in the same meeting. Farmers cannot afford to miss these opportunities.
Right now, we have a county where livestock opposition forces have asked to be on the agenda for the next four area plan commission meetings. Do you think they are there to sing the praises of animal agriculture? Doubtful. Who will advocate for animal agriculture? If not you, who?
If you would like to become more active on the county level in advocating for animal agriculture, please consider forming a committee on local policy action. By doing so, your local organization can take a high profile position in advocating for animal agriculture, build relations and grow leadership. If you would like help in creating or refining a local government and policy committee in your county, please contact Greg Slipher, mobile 317-432-2816.
AGRICULTURE REPRESENTED ON BLUE-RIBBON TAX COMMISSION After much debate and discussion in the 2014 legislative session about business taxes, particularly business personal property tax, SEA 1 was enacted, providing local options for elimination of some or all of BPPT by a county level board. In an attempt to more thoroughly examine that issue, business taxes in general and a wide range of pressing tax issues, SEA 1 also included a blue-ribbon commission that will act like an interim study committee this fall. This commission will have representatives from cities and towns, county government, schools, real estate agents, manufacturers, the state chamber and agriculture. Katrina Hall of Indiana Farm Bureau was appointed by Speaker Brian Bosma and President Pro Tem David Long to represent the interests of agriculture. “I am honored to give the perspective of agriculture and am looking forward to a collaborative process. This is a meaningful platform to explain the real problems the ag sector faces since commodity prices have fallen and profit margins are thinning,” said Hall.
WATERS OF THE U.S. REGIONAL MEETINGS ANNOUNCED To provide education to members and partners, including those in local government, Indiana Farm Bureau will be hosting nine additional meetings around the state to discuss the EPA/Army Corps of Engineers proposal on waters of the U.S. The meetings will include an overview of the impacts of the rule changes and how to take action to oppose the rule. Two previous meetings in southern Indiana turned out over 100 attendees and a 45-minute discussion with Cong. Larry Bucshon (R-District 8), who has been one of the leading advocates in the House of Representatives to push back the rule proposal. Find more information on the meetings or how to take action here.
NATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEES LEADING EFFORTS TO FIGHT EPA/CORPS As part of the strategy to challenge the adoption of the proposed rule for expansion of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, county Farm Bureau national policy action committees are working to develop local outreach and engagement. Several counties participated in a webinar to discuss creating and using national policy action committees and how to challenge the rule proposal. Widespread grassroots engagement and development of local partnerships will be critical to defeating the rule proposal. For more information on engaging your county Farm Bureau in this effort, please contact Justin Schneider.
ACTION: CONGRESS RESPONDS TO EPA AND CORPS’ PROPOSED WATERS OF THE U.S. RULE The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5078), introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), is bipartisan legislation to uphold the federal-state partnership in regulating the nation’s waters. The bill was passed out of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee earlier this month and was supported by Cong. Larry Bucshon. Members are encouraged to contact their representative and ask that they cosponsor H.R.5078. Broad bipartisan support will help ensure that the House considers the legislation this fall. More information about H.R. 5078 can be found here. Farm Bureau supports H.R. 5078.
ACTION: MEMBERS SHOULD URGE CONGRESS TO FINALIZE WORK ON TAX EXTENDERS Congress continues to work on passage of around 50 tax extenders or tax provisions that expired at the end of last year. In April, the Senate Finance Committee approved S. 2260, the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act. The bill extends for two years all of the Farm Bureau-supported tax provisions that expired at the end of last year including Section 179, bonus depreciation, fertilizer deduction and food donation deduction, among others.
The House has taken a different approach. It is voting on the expired provisions individually or in small packages and is making them permanent. To date the House has passed four provisions contained in three bills important to Farm Bureau.
- H.R. 4457 to make permanent Section 179 small business expensing with a maximum deduction of $500,000 reduced dollar for dollar when expenditures exceed $2 million.
- H.R. 4718 to make 50 percent bonus depreciation permanent.
- H.R. 4719, the America Gives More Act of 2014, to make permanent the tax deduction for donated conservation easements and the tax deduction for donating food.
Farm Bureau members are encouraged to contact Sens. Coats and Donnelly to urge prompt passage of S. 2260, the EXPIRE Act.
Members are also encouraged to contact their representatives and ask them to pass the remaining expiring tax provisions supported by Farm Bureau.
- The biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credit.
- The small agri-biodiesel producer credit.
- The tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass.
- The cellulosic biofuel producer tax credit.
- The investment tax credit for alternative vehicle refueling property.
- The tax credit for the production of electricity using wind energy.
- The community and distributed wind investment tax credit.
- Fair market test for unrelated business income tax.
- Railroad track maintenance credit for short-line railroads.
- Deduction for state and local sales tax.
- Deduction for tuition and fees for higher education.