Congress sends a tax plan to the White House

Yesterday Congress passed the final tax bill, sending it to President Donald Trump for a signature in a much debated, high-priority goal for the Administration.

“This is a once-in-a-generation reform of the federal tax code and it comes just in time to be an eagerly awaited Christmas present for taxpayers. Having traveled through our nation’s heartland for most of this year, I know that the hard-working, tax-paying people of American agriculture need relief,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Most family farms are run as small businesses, and they should be able to keep more of what they earn to reinvest in their operations and take care of their families. Simplifying the tax code and easing the burden on citizens will free them up to make choices for themselves, create jobs, and boost the overall American economy. I thank President Trump for his leadership, and commend Congress for being responsive to the people.”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a sweeping tax system overhaul that has very divided support nationally and in agriculture. The National Farmers Union (NFU) staunchly opposed the Act because of its regressive taxation structure and implications on health care affordability and the nation’s financial standing. The bill’s massive $1.5 trillion increase to the deficit now potentially places farm program and entitlement funding on the chopping block, according to NFU president Roger Johnson

“Farmers Union is deeply disappointed in Congress’ decision to approve the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, not only because it is flawed fiscal policy, but also because we must now fight to protect every penny that is spent securing our nation’s food supply and natural resources, supporting our rural communities, and feeding our hungry,” Johnson said. “This tax bill leaves a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget — a hole that some members of Congress will want to fill with farm program and entitlement spending cuts. At a time when rural America is experiencing the most severe economic downturn in a couple generations, we cannot afford to take away their safety net. Moving forward, we urge Congress to avoid any funding cuts to programs that support our nation’s family farmers and ranchers.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation was supportive of the tax cuts that will benefit the nation’s farmers.

“The tax reform package passed by Congress this week will result in lower taxes for the vast majority of farmers and ranchers. This tax overhaul includes many changes to the tax code, most notably lower individual tax rates that will benefit farmers and ranchers. Ninety-four percent of farmers and ranchers pay taxes as individuals, and those rates are coming down. The bill also maintains all of the important deductions and credits that farmers rely on. So, thanks to a lot of hard work by Congress and the administration, farmers will have both lower rates and all the tools they’ve always had to manage their businesses,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “Starting next year, farmers and ranchers will also be able to take a 20% deduction off their business income. That’s new, and it will reduce the taxes farmers owe. The bill also doubles the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person, which will provide relief to the vast majority of farmers and ranchers. We look forward to President Trump signing this bill. Most of the provisions in this tax bill are temporary, lasting for only seven years, so Farm Bureau will now focus our work on making those important tax deductions, lower rates and the estate tax exemption permanent.”

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