Legislative Ag update: Includes tax & fees.

Oregon-Farm-BureauOregon Farm Bureau Priority Bills
By Oregon Farm Bureau

Farm and Forests 101

This week, Oregon Farm Bureau along with other natural resources organizations hosted Farm and Forests 101 for legislators. The intent of the program was to give legislators an overview of the farm and forest sectors and our contribution to Oregon’s economy and environment. Presenters included Katy Coba (ODA Director), Doug Deckart (State Forester), Ed Ray (President of OSU), Doug Krahmer (Board of Ag Chair), Bill Hoyt (past President of OCA) and Gary Springer (Board of Forestry member). Numerous legislators were in attendance including Speaker Kotek.

Revenue Forecast Released

The revenue forecast was released today. As you can imagine, the revenue picture continues to be a topic of concern. As stated in the forecast, “The forecast projects state revenues will increase in the current biennium by $162.3 million and decline in the 2013-15 biennium by $74 million. The net result is an additional $87.1 million available for the 2013-15 biennial budget.”

This is simply a forecast, and even though its moving in a positive direction, we will not see the entire picture until later in the legislative session. The long term instability of state revenues has caused many legislators to look for other revenue raising alternatives, including raising taxes and fees. See the two bills below that concern people in the natural resources sector.

Click here to access the revenue forecast that was released today.

House Revenue Tax Bill

The bill of concern in the House Revenue Committee is HB 2504 and people should be aware of its progress. HB 2504 places sunset dates for personal property tax expenditure programs, including most of the agriculture exemptions. If passed, farmers could become taxed annually on their crops, livestock, machinery, irrigation equipment, on farm labor housing and other improvements.

This will have a dramatic impact on family farms bottom lines. HB 2504 has not been scheduled for a hearing yet. Click this link to go to the committee webpage where you can email the committee members and let your voice be heard on this troublesome bill.

Senate Environment and Natural Resources Fee Bill

There is a fee raising bill in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee that water right holders should know about. SB 217raises fees to assist the Water Resources Department manage water rights. This will apply for annual periods beginning July 1, 2013. This bill has not been scheduled for a hearing, but it is never to early to let your voice be heard. Click this link to go to the committee webpage and access legislators’ emails that sit on the committee.

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