GOODLATTE OPPOSES TAX INCREASES TACKED ONTO FARM BILL PROVISIONS
Washington, DC: Earlier this week, Rep. Goodlatte stood with his colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee to voice support for the farm bill provisions passed out of the Committee last week. Unfortunately, at the last minute, tax increases on "insourcing" companies operating inside the United States were added to the bill behind closed doors. Rep. Goodlatte worked to incorporate several provisions in the bill including funding for the Chesapeake Bay, the Emergency Food Assistance Program increasing funding for food banks, and compromise language that would allow country-of-origin labeling for meat products to take full effect next year. However, once the tax increases were added to the bill, Rep. Goodlatte could not vote to support an increased tax that would have jeopardized U.S. jobs and investment in our country.
"At the beginning of the week, I stood beside the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee to voice my support for this bill that we had worked in a bipartisan fashion to bring to the floor. I had only one caveat: that the offsets not be in the form of tax increases. Not 24 hours before we were to consider this bill on the Floor, we were made aware of a tax increase provision that had been added to this language behind closed doors. Unfortunately all of the good things contained in this bill have been overshadowed by very partisan elements of what should be a bipartisan bill," said Rep. Goodlatte.
The tax provisions added without the consultation of the Agriculture Committee would raise taxes on companies with U.S. subsidiaries. These companies are responsible for the employment of more than 5 million Americans and significant investment in the U.S. economy. By raising taxes on foreign companies located in the U.S., these provisions could make the U.S. a less hospitable place to do business, discourage future investment, and drive jobs abroad, not to mention the retaliatory effects these actions may impose on U.S. companies operating on foreign soil. These tax provisions are part of numerous treaties that allow reciprocal treatment on taxes for U.S. companies with foreign subsidiaries to avoid double taxation.
"I am disappointed that the traditionally bipartisan farm bill was bogged down with a tax increase that had no business being in a bill that is supposed to be about agriculture, conservation, nutrition, energy, and rural development and should have been fully funded through fair treatment in the normal budget process. But the farm bill was shortchanged in that process and the way to fix it is not with a tax increase. The bill as it stands pits America's farmers and ranchers against American workers and relying on tax increases to fund a farm bill is the wrong way to go," said Goodlatte.
Items of interest included in the farm bill:
Chesapeake Bay Program for Nutrient Reduction and Sediment Control includes $150 million in new mandatory funding and directs the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive plan for restoring, preserving, and protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed starting with the Susquehanna, Shenandoah, Patuxent, and Potomac Rivers. The program also authorized restoration enhancement and preservation cost-share projects that would help achieve the mutual goals of nutrient reduction and sediment control.
$25 million Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Conservation Planning Pilot Program to undertake comprehensive conservation planning to assist producers before they submit an application for conservation assistance. The results of the planning study would be provided to the producer, detailing the type of financial assistance available that would most effectively address the resource needs of the operation consistent with the environmental goals of the Chesapeake Bay area.
Authorizes the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), clarifying forest land as eligible for the program, and provides $8.6 billion over five years. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist farmers install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land
Reauthorizes the Healthy Forests Reserve Program and provides $17 million a year for five years. This is a voluntary working forest program where participants agree to conserve and manage endangered species habitat and in exchange, they are protected from additional regulatory burdens.
Establishes a new program, the Emergency Forest Restoration Program, to assist private forest owners with restoration following disasters such as Gypsy Moth infestations, hurricanes and wildfires.
$100 million was authorized for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). TEFAP provides food to states for distribution to needy families. Most of the food distribution is accomplished through food banks and soup kitchens. TEFAP provides food and nutrition services to those who need it by directly placing the goods into the hands of its recipients.
Authorizes $995 million for the Farmland Protection Program, which provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses.