Saturday, April 23, 2016

House Agrees Ag Disasters Should Not Be Taxed

The Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) is leading an effort to exempt agricultural disaster assistance payments from state income tax. MCA President Keith Stevens said the government currently taxes agricultural disaster payments as income, which he calls "unacceptable." The House Ways and Means Committee cleared SB 641, sponsored by Sen. Dave Schatz (R-26), with a bipartisan 10-1 vote.

"Only in agriculture does the government consider disasters as a taxable event. We are aware of no other disaster assistance treated as income by the government," said Stevens. "Disaster assistance in the livestock industry is extremely rare. The most recent disaster was the widespread drought just a few years ago, but on average significant disaster assistance kicks in about once a decade."

The legislation cleared the Missouri Senate March 3, 2016, with a 29-3 vote. The approval of the House committee takes the legislation one step closer to final passage. The bill now moves to the House Select Committee on Financial Institutions and Taxation.

"We are very pleased with the committee's approval of this commonsense legislation. Cattle producers do not want disasters to occur, but we have no control over this. These payments are not subsidies and do not even come close to making the producer whole, but sometimes allows a family farmer or rancher to stay in business after a disaster hits," said Stevens. "We are extremely disappointed with Rep. Jeff Pogue (R-143) who was the only policymaker siding against farm and ranch families."

Stevens said he urges the full Missouri House of Representatives to pass the legislation as quickly as possible.

No comments: