I am thankful that tax relief, put in place during President Bush’s first term, will continue for at least two more years, but I am still mystified on the thinking of some members of Congress.
Isn’t it ironic that Congress can have a debate on deficit reduction without any discussion of cutting federal government expenditures? The odd thing is some lawmakers considered letting the tax rates go up as the only answer to deficit reduction. You reduce deficits by living within your revenue means and cutting costs – not by mandating higher taxes. We can only hope the next Congress, which convenes in January, will understand this simple concept.
Of particular interest to our farmers and ranchers in this new law is the reworking of the estate tax provision. More commonly known as the death tax because of its impact on the estates of deceased farmers and ranchers, this new law will make it possible for countless agricultural operations to stay in production.
Thanks again to a cooperative show of political negotiation, the new law provides a two-year period in which farm and ranch lands can be taxed no more than 35 percent after a $5 million exemption. This is in sharp contrast to the proposed 55-percent/$1 million exemption that would leave many farmers and ranchers no other choice than to sell their land or cease operation.
I often remind people that our farmers and ranchers provide us with the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world. The new estate tax law makes it possible for them to continue to do so – and for that we should all be thankful.