House Passes Tax Relief for American Farmers and Ranchers

Sep 26, 1998

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Smith (R-OR) announced that the House of Representatives passed an extensive tax relief plan (H.R. 4579) for U.S. farmers and ranchers today by a vote of 229-195 calling the legislation one of the most important actions Congress could take for the long term prosperity of the agricultural industry.

"Many farmers and ranchers struggle each year to keep their heads above water and they are particularly hard hit by taxes which take away any profits they do make," Smith said. "This tax relief package is vital to protect the future of our agricultural producers."

On September 11, Chairman Smith and 22 Republican farm state legislators wrote to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer (R-TX) urging him to include provisions vital to U.S. farmers and ranchers in his tax relief legislation. The final version of H.R. 4579 includes:

Expediting the expanded health insurance deduction to make 100% deductibility effective immediately for U.S. farmers and ranchers -- average savings of $382/person.

Immediate $25,000 per small business expensing deduction — average savings of $1700/family farm.

Permanent income averaging for farm income — total savings to U.S. agriculture of $50 million/year.

Accelerating death tax relief immediately for 100% of the $1 million death tax credit — annual savings for U.S. agriculture of $150 million/year, benefiting two-thirds of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

Increasing the net operating carry back period for farmers — benefiting 100,000 family farmers.

"For too long, Congress has discussed the pros and cons of federal farm policy -- the policy effects of commodity programs, while we have left tax matters to another day. Today, Chairman Archer has changed all that. I believe we have a solid, and, in my view, unchallengeable tax package for American farmers and ranchers," Smith said during debate in the House.

Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District -- which includes most of eastern, southern and central Oregon -- in the U.S. House of Representatives.