(FL Farm Bureau – Gainesville, Fla.) â€“ As the U.S. House of Representatives passed the economic stabilization package by a vote of 263-171, the stateâ€™s largest general interest agricultural organization praised the members of the Florida delegation who supported the measure.
â€œThis was a difficult vote for members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Inaction was not an option, given the crisis in credit markets,â€ said Dana Brooks, Florida Farm Bureauâ€™s director of national affairs. â€œThe rescue package is aimed at allowing banks and other financial institutions to resume lending money, and no industry depends more on credit than agriculture.â€
The measure also contains a number of provisions that ensure fair tax treatment for farmers and provide opportunities for Florida producers.
It provides relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax. Farmers pay a disproportionate amount of their income in AMT because they are unable to deduct some of their state and local taxes and some farm and ranch operating losses. Agricultural producers tend to have more capital gains tax income than taxpayers in general.
â€œExtension and expansion of credits for renewable fuels will help America make the transition to clean, renewable energy, and Floridaâ€™s agriculture industry can play an important role in that transition,â€ Brooks said.
The Renewable Electricity Protection Tax Credit encourages the production of electricity from wind and biomass. Extending tax incentives through 2010 will provide needed stability for the long-term growth of the biodiesel industry, an industry in which Florida farmers are eager to participate. The measure also includes incentives that encourage a more diverse feedstock base for cellulosic biofuels, which also have great potential for Florida agriculture.
The Florida Farm Bureau Federation is the stateâ€™s largest general-interest agricultural association with about 140,000 member-families statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, the Federation is an independent, nonprofit agricultural organization. More information about Florida Farm Bureau is available on the organizationâ€™s Web site, http://FloridaFarmBureau.org.