In a letter to the Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) board of directors and friends of the association, FCM Executive Vice President/CEO Mike Sparks wrote the following:
I would like to share some great news during this holiday season! Late last week, Congress passed “The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act)”. The bill extended bonus depreciation for five years as well as added new language which is helpful to the citrus industry; thanks to the efforts of many of our strongest supporters in Washington. We have a great Florida delegation which is nice to know in such challenging times.
Specifically, the PATH Act gives 50 percent bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017 and then phases down with 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019. However, the cost of trees, vines, and plants bearing fruit or nuts are now also eligible for the bonus depreciation when planted or grafted, rather than when placed in service. For the specific language, please see Section 143, pages 39-65 of this document.
Keep in mind, we are still pushing a provision that would allow for the immediate expensing of citrus trees and associated planting costs for a period of 10 years (the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act). We recognize the PATH Act as a positive first step and we look forward to working with the bill sponsors and the entire Florida delegation to enact this measure as soon as possible. Please know Florida Citrus Mutual is aggressively pursuing all avenues.
In addition to the tax policy issue, we are happy to announce an increase in funding to several federal programs assisting our growers in the fight against HLB. Congress has allocated an incremental $7.5 million to the MAC and CHRP programs. Also, know the $25 million in Farm Bill dollars for research remains intact.
I cannot emphasize enough that this could not have been done without the support of the Florida delegation including Reps. Bilirakis, Castor, Clawson, Crenshaw, Curbelo, Deutch, Diaz-Balart, Frankel, Graham, Hastings, Jolly, Murphy, Posey, Ross, Wasserman-Schultz and Yoho – all of whom sponsored the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act. We would especially like to thank Sen. Bill Nelson and Reps. Buchanan and Rooney for all of their efforts, especially at the end of the year, to support Florida citrus.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. Have a great Christmas and holiday season.
Michael W. Sparks
Executive Vice President/CEO
Florida Citrus Mutual
411 E Orange Street
Lakeland, Fl 33801-5054