I am a lifelong Illinois resident, living on a family farm near Waynesville until the age of seven. Although I have not worked on a farm since I was employed by Funk's Seed Company part time in 1973, the wisdom and life lessons I learned from my farming background will last with me a lifetime. But a lot has changed since I left the farming industry. Family farms have decreased, large corporate farms enjoying millions in government subsidies have increased, and taxes and regulations continue to be on the rise. It is these things, and ultimately my firm belief in the efficiency and fairness of free markets, that lead me to my political solutions for the farming industry. In fact, I believe the solutions I propose for all Illinois business will also benefit agribusiness.
Farming has a fundamental difference compared to other businesses. It is literally tied to the land. When other businesses struggle, they can pack up shop and move. In fact, a record number of businesses are leaving Illinois because of the burden of high taxes and increasingly complicated regulations. However, a farmer is anchored to his farm. For this reason, a free and prosperous state is even more important to farming. As goes the state economy, so goes profitability for the farming community.
This brings home an important point to the farmer. If subsidies rob from other citizens and from other businesses, then the market for corn and soybeans will suffer. Government involvement in any market artificially sets prices and limits competition. Only free markets can offer the general prosperity that drives up sales and profits, while at the same time also driving down costs for consumers.
My position for all businesses is to reduce or eliminate taxes and reduce regulations. The reduced costs of production will help farmers and the state. I oppose tax credits because they target one industry, when a total elimination of that type of tax would benefit all Illinois business.
Among my positions of interest to agribusiness:
* Eliminate the state income tax
* Eliminate the state inheritance tax
* Eliminate the state motor fuel tax
* Reduce regulations that prohibit, limit or delay livestock farm operation
* Reduce regulations on ethanol plant development and operation
Along with being freed of burdens of excessive taxation, comes the responsibility to compete fairly in a free market. For this reason, I oppose funding of subsidies such as C-FAR. These funds should come from private sources and business alliances. Although not a popular position in most business sectors, as a state, we have proven that Illinois can no longer support a bloated government. We cannot continue to prop up any sector of our economy at the expense of others. I feel the farming community will grow stronger when the Illinois and Federal governments are reduced to just providing essential services. That is the vision of our founding fathers and it is one that I share.