WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/16/08) - Democratic U.S. Congressional Representative Ron Kind of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, says the farm bill being discussed in committee needs more work to make it work for family farmers and taxpayers. Kind says, among other things, what he calls, the proposal’s budget gimmick, phases out direct payments in the ninth year, only to see them reappear again in the tenth. He calls that a sham. Kind also says he's looking forward to working with the his Ways and Means colleagues to prevent new taxes for farm programs.
U.S. Congress Representative Kind made the following statement on Valentines Day in response to Chairman Peterson’s proposed Farm Bill Conference Report:
“I welcome the efforts of Chairman Peterson and Ranking Member Goodlatte to negotiate a Farm Bill that can be signed into law. The draft they have come up with is a good start, but there is still much work to be done to make this farm bill work for family farmers and for taxpayers," Kind said.
“I fear we will squander this momentous opportunity for reform. Farmers are doing better than they ever have, and producers no longer need to be tied to our outdated system of subsidies. In fact, the consolidation of wealth among America’s largest producers has illustrated the great inequities of our broken support system" Kind continued.
“While the proposal rolls back some of the most trade-distorting policies and makes the first small steps toward taking subsidies away from millionaires, it must go further," Kind insisted. "A substantive means test and real payment limits are still needed."
"The proposal’s budget gimmick that phases out direct payments in the ninth year, only to see them reappear again in the tenth, is a sham," Kind pointed out. "This proposal continues to defend the most indefensible aspect of farm subsidies – guaranteed handouts to wealthy producers regardless of golden market conditions."
“Greater reform is also necessary to protect vital priorities in other areas of the bill, particularly nutrition programs that under this proposal would shortchange programs for the needy by $3 billion," Kind says.
"Critical conservation programs would also receive $1 billion less over five years. This is unjustifiable when it would continue to dole out more than $5 billion a year in direct payments to mostly wealthy farmers," according to Ron Kind.
“The bottom line is: this proposal is still $6 billion over budget," Congressional Representative Kind stated.
"I plan to work with my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to push for a resolution that does not involve any new tax offsets for farm programs," the LaCrosse area Democrat said.
"Raising taxes to fund needless giveaways to farmers is wasteful. There is plenty of room in the farm bill baseline to pay for all of our priorities, and in this economic climate, allowing the Agriculture Committee to unnecessarily raise taxes is not in the best interest of anyone, especially taxpayers,” Kind explained.