Session is still winding up and bills are beginning to get referred to committees. In the next few weeks the House committees will be hearing many bills and preparing them to be debated on the Floor. In these early days of session we are focusing on very pressing issues. The House voted on one such issue on Wednesday.
At the end of last year, the governor’s tax commission voted to raise property taxes on some of Missouri’s farmers by nearly 29 percent. The Commission has recommended a change in how crop land is valued, significantly increasing their value. After such a recommendation the General Assembly has sixty days to disapprove. The House and Senate overwhelmingly passed resolutions this week to stop this from going into effect. The Republican Majorities in both chambers have once again voted to uphold their promise of no tax increases!
I have always been an advocate for our farmers. Missouri’s strong agriculture industry has been a reliable asset to the state and will continue to be far into the future. It is wrong to ask our farmers to bear the burden of a budget shortfall by themselves, especially following one of the worst farm income years since 1945. Let the message be clear that Missouri supports its farmers.
In another effort to support our farmers and those who shop locally, my office filed House Bill 1864 this week. This legislation exempts farm products sold at farmers’ markets from state and local sales and use taxes.
According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture there were 131 farmers’ markets statewide in 2007. That number is still growing. These markets are beneficial for everyone involved. The producer is able to sell their products at retail prices and gain greater control over what products they grow. Consumers see several benefits including social, economic and health. Farmers’ markets bring communities together and stimulate local economies and downtown districts. Additionally, they offer access to fresh foods and promote healthy eating habits. The positives of local markets are innumerable and we should do all we can to encourage their growth.
To learn more about farmers’ markets and to find one near you, please visit this MU Extension website: http://agebb.missouri.edu/fmktdir/mfma.htm .
Friday, January 29, 2010
Ruestman: Still no tax increases
In this week's Ruestman Report, Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, says the vote on a resolution to stop tax increases for farmers. From her way of interpreting the vote, it was strictly Republicans who wanted to keep some farmers from having their taxes increased: