Farm Bureau Outlines Legislative Wish ListPosted: Updated:
The Indiana Farm Bureau says it hopes state legislators will consider "significant and lasting relief" from rising farmland taxes during the 2015 session that began this week. During its annual legislative kickoff, the organization also outlined priorities including representation in forced annexations and access to water resources.
January 7, 2015
Indianapolis, Ind. -- The coldest weather of the year didn't keep more than 220 Indiana Farm Bureau members from meeting in Indianapolis today for their annual legislative kickoff. The grassroots farm organization hosted nearly 60 legislators for lunch and conversation about Farm Bureau’s legislative priorities.
"The kickoff luncheon is an opportunity to sit down with our elected officials and remind them of what’s important to Farm Bureau members when it comes to Indiana's farm and fiscal policies," said INFB President Don Villwock. "It's good to have these conversations now, before the session kicks into high gear and lawmakers are bombarded by the issues of other groups."
A county Farm Bureau resolutions process drives INFB's legislative priorities. This session’s priorities include seeking significant and lasting relief from escalating farmland taxes; having equitable representation in the alarming number of forced annexations across the state; and maintaining access to critical water resources. Adequate funding for rural schools, local roads and programs that support services to ag and rural areas are priorities for the state budget.
"Our members have told us, and shown us in their tax bills, that farmland taxes are just too high," said Katrina Hall, INFB's director of state government relations. "The current assessment formula for farmland has taxes going up nearly 40 percent in the next three years even as crop prices are bottoming out. That's an unsustainable situation, and it needs to be remedied quickly."
During the kickoff event, Farm Bureau recognized two legislators for their work on farm and rural issues during the 2014 General Assembly. INFB Vice President Randy Kron, a grain farmer from Vanderburgh County, presented Senator Brandt Hershman and Representative Greg Steuerwald with "Legislator of the Year" awards.
Hershman, who represents White and portions of Boone, Carroll, Clinton, Jasper and Tippecanoe counties, was recognized for his overall leadership on tax and fiscal issues and his work as chair of the Business Personal Property and Business Taxation Study Commission this past summer. Steuerwald, who represents Hendricks County, was chosen for his work on both the ag trespass and ag production practice protection legislation that passed in the 2014 session.
"We're very grateful to these two lawmakers for their dedication to making rural Indiana a better place," said Kron. "They worked with our members on tax and property rights issues, and proved to be good friends of Farm Bureau during last year’s legislative session. We look forward to working with them again in 2015."
About Indiana Farm Bureau
Since 1919, Indiana Farm Bureau has protected the livelihood, land, equipment, animals and crops of Hoosier farmers. We are the state’s largest general farm organization and a farmer’s strongest advocate. IFB works diligently to ensure a farmer’s very right to farm, because agriculture is so vital to Indiana’s economy. Learn more at www.infb.org.
Source: Indiana Farm Bureau