Senator Tom Carlson-District 38
February 9, 2012
The Agriculture Committee met last week to hear bills concerning corn and wheat check offs. LB 905 would revise the manner of calculating the check off dollars collected under the Nebraska Wheat Resource Act as a percentage of value rather than as a set amount per bushel. State law would set an assessment rate beginning on July 1, 2012, with authority for the Wheat Board to adjust the rate within a statutory maximum.
LB 1057 would set the check off rate for marketing of corn in Nebraska at one half cent per bushel beginning January 1, 2013. The bill would also allow the Nebraska Corn Board to adjust the check off in one-tenth cent increments within a statutory maximum of one cent per bushel if approved by a super majority of at least seven members of the board.
I will argue that a check off is a form of tax. What makes it unique is that the Wheat Board and the Corn Board are making decisions to tax themselves. The money raised is for promoting their products and educating consumers on the value of purchasing their product. The check offs also fund research to develop new seed lives that encourage more efficient use of water and more disease resistance, while increasing profit and production per acre. These two bills encourage investment back into the business of growing wheat and corn and I support the plans.
Tuesday, February 7th, I was on Channel 13 news talking about taxes. This was taped early in January at the start of the legislative session. My remarks were about income taxes, not property taxes. I believe property taxes are too high. I do hope farmers and land owners pay income taxes. That includes me, and it indicates there are profits in agriculture. I want profits to be extensive in crop and animal agriculture. That success will generate income taxes, which are critical to the state of Nebraska.
Speaker Flood announced that committee and senator priority bills must be designated by February 16th. The speaker attempts to make sure that priority bills are given floor debate once they are advanced from committee. During a short, 60 day legislative session, it is important that legislation have priority in order to be debated and passed. I will discuss my priority legislation with you in the coming weeks.