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October 4, 2012

Congress Must Halt Tax Hike

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

You may have a plan for paying for the holiday presents you’ll buy this year, but have you planned for how you’ll afford the higher taxes that will hit most U.S. households if Congress doesn’t take action? American Farm Bureau Tax Specialist Pat Wolff talks about efforts to encourage Congress to keep those tax hikes from happening. Johnna Miller has the story.
Miller:Come January 1, families all over the country will be paying higher taxes unless Congress gets cracking during the lame duck session after the election.
Wolff:There’s every reason in the world believe that they will do a tax package in December. It will be a huge tax increase if they don’t, which isn’t good news for most people, and it will have an impact on the stock market and our financial situation and that has a lot of people worried. On the other hand there’s every reason to believe they won’t because they’ve had almost two years now to try to figure it out and they haven’t got it done.
Miller:American Farm Bureau Tax Specialist Pat Wolff says farmers and ranchers, who will be especially hard hit by giant hikes in estate and capital gains taxes, will be pushing for action on taxes to take priority in the short lame duck session.
Wolff:They’re only going to be here about three weeks and that’s really not very long. There’s a list of things they need to get done that’s as long as my arm. The tax bill is one of them, the farm bill is another. Dealing with the sequestration issue is a third and there’s a real possibility that they’ll not have enough time to do everything. So Farm Bureau has engaged in a grassroots campaign to push the tax items that we think are most important and that is making sure that we don’t have a huge increase in the estate taxes or capital gains taxes come January 1.
Miller:Wolff says there is legislation in the works for a one-year extension of the current law.
Wolff:Just about everyone agrees that our tax code needs an overhaul, but letting taxes go up on January 1 is not a comprehensive look at our tax code; it’s a tax accident. That one year is designed to give Congress long enough to come back and do a thoughtful, comprehensive tax reform package.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:We have two extra actualities with AFBF Tax Specialist Pat Wolff. In the first extra actuality she talks about the status of important tax provisions. The cut runs 27 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Wolff:Farmers and ranchers across the country are set to get a huge increase in taxes on January 1 unless Congress acts to prevent that from happening. Capital gains tax rates are going to go up. Estate tax rates are going to go up. The estate tax exemption is going to go down and individual income tax rates are going to change along with about 100 other tax code provisions. 
Miller:In the second extra actuality Wolff says Congress should not let the tax increases take effect. The cut runs 22 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Wolff:We want Congress to keep the tax code that we have now in place. That would prevent a huge tax increase and it would provide stability so that farms and ranches and other businesses could plan, could figure out how they’re going to run their businesses. That’s really hard to do when the tax code changes every three, six, 12 months. 
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern time. Thank you for listening.

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