President's Tax Relief Veto Costs Farm Families

Sep 23, 1999

President Clinton has dashed farm families' financial hopes with a veto that the House Agriculture Committee Chairman says ignores the needs of farmers and ranchers.

"The President continues to pass up the opportunity to help rural Americans with this veto to a host of producer tax benefits.  Even in this time of critical need, when cash income is scarce, farmers are penalized by a rigid and unfair tax code.  While large companies can deduct the expense of paying their employees' health insurance premiums, the self-employed family farmer is allowed to deduct less than half the cost for his family's health insurance.  Simple fixes that Republicans have put together could have put real money back in the pockets of rural Americans, but the President stands in the way," said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest, (R- TX).

The President's veto refused establishment of Farm and Ranch Risk Management (FARRM) accounts that could have been used to offset losses in bad years.  Also vetoed were equipment and supply expensing allowances, and the veto of immediate full deduction of self-employed health insurance premiums.

Combest noted that rural families would also have benefited from the general provisions of tax relief vetoed by the President, including phase-down and repeal of the death tax on family operations passed on to the next generation and the $1,400 yearly in relief from the marriage tax penalty.

Last year, Congress made available permanent income averaging and net operating loss carryback provisions.  Combest remains committed to pushing for federal government recognition of the small business risks of farm and ranch operations, despite the President's continued lack of positive action for producers.