There’s disagreement about the impact that an ag disaster bill will have on the state budget.
State Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) disagrees with opponents of ag disaster legislation like State Rep. Tracy McCreery (D-Olivette), who say it “blows a hole in the budget.” Reiboldt, who chairs the House Select Committee on Agriculture, says the bill creates an income tax deduction for farmers who receive disaster assistance payments.
“Nobody ever makes a profit off of disaster. You always lose more than you ever get back,” Reiboldt says.
Representative McCreery is the ranking Democrat on Reiboldt’s committee.
The Legislature voted last week to override Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto of the bill, which has been Reiboldt’s top priority for the last two years. He notes Arkansas approved a similar bill in 2015. Reiboldt tells Missourinet farmers deserve an income tax deduction for disaster assistance payments.
“You know we don’t call in a drought or a natural disaster, and it’s not a part of how we make our money out in rural America. The Governor and some of his people seem to think that it’s a business income,” Reiboldt says.
Governor Nixon describes Reiboldt’s bill as a “special interest tax break”, estimating its fiscal impact at $51.5 million. Reiboldt contends the estimate is about $6 million. Nixon restricted $57.2 million last week, saying the withholds were necessary to balance the budget.
“Make no mistake- these cuts are solely the responsibility of legislators who voted to enact the special interest tax breaks. When they decide to spend money on tax breaks, that money has to come from other places,” Nixon told the Capitol Press Corps last week.
Nixon also criticizes the Legislature’s vote to override his veto on a bill providing a sales tax break on classes like yoga and dancing.
The House override vote on the Reiboldt ag bill was primarily along party lines. However, State Reps. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) and Bill White (R-Joplin) voted to sustain Governor Nixon’s veto. Three Democrats, State Reps. Stephen Webber (D-Columbia), Kip Kendrick (D-Columbia) and Ben Harris (D-Hillsboro), voted to override Nixon’s veto.