Lays Out Eighth Set Of "Ideas To Reclaim America" As Clear Alternative To Washington
Today, addressing the members of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio outlined six simple ways to help Florida's agriculture community. This is Rubio's eighth set of "Ideas to Reclaim America" proposals to offer a clear and positive alternative to the policies coming out of Washington.
Florida is home to 47,500 farms that span more than 9 million acres of land and produce a wide variety of locally grown food products. Agriculture is the largest employer in the country, and Florida is the crowning jewel of that industry, providing the best oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and floriculture the U.S. has to offer. We need to make sure we maintain strong agricultural policies that allow Florida to remain a national leader.
"Florida's farms are an invaluable part of our state and national economies. As the nation's largest industry, it is necessary that farmers be protected from an overreaching government and unfair taxes that stymie growth and profitability. We must do everything we can to allow these farms to create jobs, protect their crops and increase market size by opening up trade. As the country's leading citrus provider, Florida stands to gain the most from these necessary practices," said Rubio.
Unfortunately, Washington has intervened and made it more difficult for farmers to run successful businesses. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is placing stringent standards on farmers, and unfair taxes are strangling their ability to grow their businesses. These practices must be adjusted so that America's largest industry can thrive and produce not just food, but jobs as well.
To help our state's agriculture industry, Marco has put forth six simple ways to help farmers:
Marco's Six Simple Ways To Help The Agriculture Community:
* IDEA #1: Stand Up To The EPA On Numeric Nutrients.Due to environmental groups suing the EPA in 2008, Florida is facing the federal imposition of economically damaging numeric nutrient standards on its lakes and rivers. Congress should step-in and ensure that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection leads the effort to implement numeric nutrients. Being a state agency, they are fully aware of the economic cost and devastation a one-size-fits-all Washington approach would have on the state.
* IDEA #2: Promote Economic Growth And Job Creation Through Trade. We must continue reducing barriers to free and fair trade. We should adopt the free trade agreements that have already been negotiated with Colombia, Panama, South Korea and other nations around the world. For example, the adoption of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement would result in agricultural export gains of more than $815 million per year. The Panama and Korea Free Trade Agreements would result in more than $195 million and $1.8 billion per year respectively. We must ratify these agreements and work toward the lowering of tariffs and curtailing anti-trade practices around the world.
* IDEA #3: Prevent A Capital Gains Tax Hike. The capital gains tax is not just imposed on those who make money off investment. It also impacts small businesses and farms that help feed our country and employ our workers. Fundamentally, it is a case of taxing first when the income is earned, then again when the investment (whether in mutual funds or buildings) is cashed-in for other investments or needs. We must prevent it from being raised due to the expiration of the 2001 tax cuts and eventually abolish it completely.
* IDEA #4: Permanently End The Death Tax.According to the Farm Bureau, individuals, family partnerships and family corporations own 98 percent of our nation's 2 million farms and ranches. The estate tax unfortunately causes many of these businesses to waste time on preparing to deal with the tax and, secondly, causes many families or surviving partners to sell land or equipment to pay the taxes to keep the businesses afloat. Ultimately, this tax discourages savings, investments and expansions. We need to end it once and for all.
* IDEA #5: Reform America's Foreign Pest And Disease Interdiction Process. Foreign pests and diseases can cost tens of billions of dollars annually in lower crop values, eradication programs, and emergency payments to farmers. We must not allow bureaucratic inefficiency or lack of coordination between the Department of Agriculture and Customs and Border Protection to expose this important industry to unnecessary threats. We need to ensure that inspectors have the capabilities to identify threats offshore, target inspections effectively, and are given the necessary tools, such as canine teams on the front lines, to find them.
* IDEA #6: Matching Grants For Agriculture Research.Research to protect against foreign pests and diseases has always been a primary pursuit of agriculture across the country. In Florida, research has taken on greater importance with the spread of canker and greening. There are now more than 100 research projects underway designed to provide short and long-term solutions to each disease. As private industry continues to research these and other diseases, the federal government should assist in matching a portion of the research. This will ensure agriculture has the revenue needed to defeat the threats and protect America's crops.