News - KFB concludes annual meeting with adoption of new policy
- December 10, 2012
Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) concluded its 93rd annual meeting with its Board of Directors approving condensed lists of priority issues for 2013. The organization’s delegates adopted policy positions at its business session on Friday.
Tax policies top the list on the state legislative agenda, with emphasis on a statement expressing opposition to any attempt to freeze the state real property tax rate. The state’s largest farm organization supports preserving the current law which limits annual revenue from property taxes to no more than a four percent hike, plus new growth. This provision was a key part of House Bill 44 which KFB worked hard to see enacted in 1979.
In his annual address to members, KFB President Mark Haney pointed out that freezing the rate likely would amount to continuing increases as property values rise. The Pulaski County farmer advised the group to ensure that their respective legislators were aware of KFB’s rationale for opposing a revision of the property tax structure.
“While House Bill 44 has resulted in a lower rate over the years, it has not caused a decline in state revenue from property taxes because valuations have risen,” Haney explained. “With land representing such a valuable resource to most farmers, it’s critical that we protect the structure established by House Bill 44. A significant rate increase would hit farm families hard.”
KFB also wants to ensure that the state sales tax exemption for production agriculture is not impacted by any tax reform package. Additionally, it has policy to extend the exemption to production items used in the equine industry.
“The exemption is very important to the bottom lines of our farmers,” said Haney. “Another aspect to consider is the potential impact on the Kentucky businesses that sell these inputs to farmers. A tax likely would prompt many farmers to make their purchases from businesses in surrounding states.”
Other state legislative priorities include:
- Support for the state’s career and technical education programs.
- Support effective wildlife management that will reduce the wildlife population in an effort to alleviate continued crop and livestock losses, automobile accidents, human injuries and loss of life.
- On the national level, KFB calls for addressing the budget deficit “with the goal of reaching a balanced budget.” Other priorities include:
- Permanent repeal of the estate tax and further reductions of capital gains taxes.
- Reforming the H-2A farm worker program to make it more reliable, economical and accessible.
“We have some key public policy challenges in the year ahead,” said Haney, who is entering his fifth year in the post. “Our broad range of policy positions are aimed at strengthening our farm economy and providing farm families with essential programs and services.”
With nearly 500,000 member families statewide, Kentucky Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. Approximately 1,700 members attended KFB’s 93rd annual meeting, December 5-8, to recognize this year’s individual and organizational achievements as well as adopt policy for 2013. To view all the updates released from this year’s annual meeting, visit KYFBNewsroom.com.