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21 December 2009

Brandom: Missouri Farmers and Taxes

The Missouri Tax Commission has approved new productive values for agriculture land. The values are used to calculate property taxes and are determined by evaluating the potential earnings on the land through agriculture. This recommendation increases value as much as 29% for classes 1-4 and could result in as much as a $1.00 an acre increase for farmers in the Bootheel. Grade 1 represents prime crop land and Grade 8 represents unusable pasture. The increases in assessed valuation are as followed:

Grade of Land
2009 values
2011 values
This has been a tough economic year for many farmers that have experienced excessive wet weather while planting or harvesting. As Charles Kruse, the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau pointed out, extreme market volatility combined with record production expenses, unusually wet weather and weak demand have left many farmers struggling financially. These new productivity values are a backdoor tax increase. I believe the Commission made the wrong decision. History has proven that the best way to stimulate growth is to cut taxes and reduce the size of government. Agriculture is Missouri's number one product.

Fortunately, unlike in Washington, Missouri has a built in check for this sort of recommended tax increase. The legislature can pass a resolution within the first 60 days of session to reject the Commission’s ruling. I will be co-sponsoring this resolution upon the return of the Legislature to Jefferson City on January 6th, and will encourage all my colleagues in the House and Senate to join me in protecting the Missouri farmer.

On a personal note, I encourage everyone to remember in their thoughts and prayers all of our men and woman serving in the military, far away from their loved ones this holiday season. We must all be thankful for their dedication to our safety and security. I wish all of you a “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy and Healthy 2010.”

As always, please contact me if you have questions on this or any other issue. My toll-free number is 866-834-9219 or you can email me at Ellen<dot>Brandom<at>house<dot>mo<dot>gov.

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