Haterade of the Day

Mar 16, 2011 by

Good news everyone!  Amendment 1 to SB 4 was narrowly defeated last week!  I know I promised to blog about this earlier, but I wanted to have all my facts straight.

I realize that I often blog about issues facing farmers in America, and yet many of my readers aren’t farmers and therefore may wonder why they should care, other than a sudden increase in the price of their Corn Flakes. Amendment 1 to SB 4 is a perfect example, and this is why:

Amendment 1 was also known as the “Agricultural Production Sales Tax Exemption Sunset.”  In layman’s terms, this amendment would have required sales tax to be charged on basically everything a farmer purchases for his/her business, including but not limited to: animal feed, seed, semen to inseminate livestock, tractors, breeding horses and fertilizer.  Take a minute to think about that. 

Fertilizer and chemical bills are coming due soon.  It’s not unheard of for a mid-sized family farmer to spend upwards of $45,000 on fertilizer/chemicals in ONE YEAR.  Though I will not share what we spend, it’s important to note that those of us who farm crops such as green beans, which have shorter growing cycles, and therefore are planted twice a year…well, they get fertilizer twice a year too.  So there you have it folks, what would have been a $45k bill, suddenly becomes a $49k bill JUST for fertilizer and JUST because of sales tax.  Don’t forget, that doesn’t include the tax that would’ve been added to the price of your new planter/combine, seeds and more.  Oh, and one more thing, not only would we suddenly be charged sales tax on literally EVERY THING we purchase for our business, we also would lose almost 100% of our tax deductions.  Who could afford that?! 

I know, I know.  Evvvvvvvveryone could care less if the farmers don’t get a break from the government.  After all, the media wants each and every one of you to know about the government subsidies, how ethanol is causing the food crisis and therefore the price of both food AND gas to rise, how corporate farms abuse their livestock and force animals to live in inhumane conditions.  Except none of those things are true. 

Sure, some farmers get government subsidies…because the government programs are set up in such a way that if you don’t accept subsidies on “good” years, then they aren’t available when you actually need them during a “bad” year.  I’ve already blogged about how this manufactured idea that ethanol causes both the food and gas prices to rise is factually inaccurate.  And, yes, there are corporate farms that abuse livestock, however, over 90% of farms are FAMILY farms and, if nothing else, we can’t afford to mistreat our livelihood (livestock). 

IF this bill had passed, our family could not afford to stay in business.  Period.  And we have a decent sized farm.  Think how the world would change if this bill had passed and hundreds of Illinois farmers had to go out of business.  That’s one reason non-farming families should care.  Because I can guarantee you, there would be a REAL gas/food price crisis if the farms suddenly disappeared. 

Hey non-farmers!  Need another reason to care?  This unimaginably STUPID amendment would also have eliminated most tax exemptions, deductions and credits for ALL businesses.  Do I have your attention?  If you own a business, this affects you.  If you frequent a business of ANY KIND, this affects you. 

Everyone in Peoria, please imagine the following scenario:  Caterpillar recently began re-hiring some of its workforce.  However, should this idiotic amendment have passed, they would no longer have any deductions on things like WD-40, steel or, gee, I don’t know, YELLOW PAINT.  You know, the little things.  How many people would lose their jobs over that alone?  Do I have your attention NOW? 

Anyone out there go to the dentist?  God knows we do!  Imagine how much your bill would be if dentists no longer had tax breaks for all the toothbrushes, floss, gauze, fluoride and mouthwash they use or give away! 
The list goes on and on. 

Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, this bill was shot down…by a 4-4 vote.  That’s a close call, ladies and gents.  And as we all know, nothing ever truly goes away in the Senate.  I’ll be keeping my eye out for more news on this government-induced insanity, and you can be sure if and when it comes up again, you’ll be reading about it.

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  1. Vegan/Megan

    I appreciate that you keep up with this. My family members are farmers, and I also just like learning more about food and where it comes from.

  2. Lauren

    Thank you Megan! I also like knowing where my food comes from, even though we personally don't raise livestock…because it does affect us all! 🙂

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