Farm Groups at Odds Over Tax Reform Measure

Teaganne Finn reported today at Bloomberg Government Online that, “Two prominent farm organizations disagree over how the tax bill compromise released by House and Senate lawmakers would affect the agriculture industry.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation, which focuses on making the farming business more profitable, supports the bill’s potential for lower farmer income taxes. But the National Farmers Union, founded by local producers concerned with stability and farm income says the tax cuts could threaten programs like crop insurance in the 2018 farm bill, as lawmakers look to offset the $1.5 trillion that the overhaul would add to the national debt over 10 years.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1) is projected to add $1.455 trillion to the U.S. deficit over the next decade, according to a report released on Dec. 15 by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. CBO says the final bill would reduce U.S. revenue by about $1.649 trillion and decrease outlays by about $194 billion over period from 2018 to 2027.

Ms. Finn stated that, “The bill would provide a 20 percent deduction for owners of pass-through businesses. With the majority of farms structured as pass-throughs, this could ‘help them have more profitable businesses and allow them to immediately deduct expenses,’ Patricia Wolff, tax policy specialist at AFBF, told Bloomberg Government.”

Today’ article added that, “The National Farmers Union’s biggest concern with the bill is the increase to the national debt and the possible cuts to agriculture programs in the next farm bill. The current one is set to expire at the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

“‘I don’t know how the agriculture industry gets better if we have to deal with the deficit,’ Zack Clark, NFU’s director of government relations, told Bloomberg Government.”

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