What Ag thinks of federal budget deal

Wheat-Growers-National-AssociationBy National Association of Wheat Growers

FY 2016 Omnibus, Tax Agreement Reached, Congressional Action This Week

Yesterday Congressional negotiators released the text of an agreement to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2016 and to make permanent a number of important tax provisions. The House of Representatives has taken the first step by approving the tax package, and consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill is expected Friday morning. Following House action, the Senate is expected to take up both bills, as early as Friday.

The FY 2016 omnibus appropriations bill increases discretionary spending for agriculture appropriations by $925 million above the FY 2015 enacted level to $21.75 billion. This includes $2.94 billion for agricultural research programs, including the Agriculture Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Competitive research grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative are funded at $350 million. The Hatch Act program is funded at $243.7 million and Smith-Lever extension activities are funded at $300 million.

In terms of tax provisions, the bill includes a permanent extension of Section 179 at the $500,000 expensing limitation level (the phase-out amount is at the $2 million level). Additionally, these amounts will also be indexed for inflation beginning in 2016. The bill also includes an extension of bonus depreciation for property acquired and placed into service during 2015 through 2019. The percentage is 50 percent for property placed into service during 2015, 2016, and 2017, and it phases down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019. A section-by-section summary of the tax package can be found here.

NAWG urges wheat farmers to contact your Members of Congress and Senators asking them to support the omnibus and tax package.

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