Lawmakers hear the message from farmers and ranchers: budget bills repeal illegal tax, drop many new fees
» August 2, 2004 «
The strength of farmers, ranchers and other small business owners led to a California state budget package that removes one illegal tax and prevents many new fees from being imposed, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.
California Farm Bureau President Bill Pauli praised the budget plan for avoiding tax increases and many new fees.
"With our rural communities already beset by high unemployment rates, it makes no sense to burden them further to balance the budget deficit left by the previous administration," Pauli said. "We're pleased that our new governor negotiated a package with legislative leaders that contains no tax increases and avoids a host of proposed fees on landowners."
Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the budget into law during the weekend and is expected to finish signing a package of "trailer bills" this week.
The budget package also repeals a levy imposed in 2003, which the Farm Bureau challenged in court as an illegal tax.
The repealed law imposed a flat "fee" on each real-property parcel located in State Responsibility Areas. The Farm Bureau says the assessment is actually a tax and was imposed illegally.
"Repealing the SRA tax will save taxpayers who live in rural communities an estimated $105 million," Pauli said. "In addition, rural residents will save millions more, because the Legislature dropped plans to impose even more fees."
Environmental activist groups had sought to insert fees in the new budget to expand programs in the state Department of Fish and Game, Coastal Commission, Cal-Fed Bay-Delta Authority and other agencies. Another proposal would have increased fees on landowners who must prepare timber harvest plans.
Each of those proposed new fees has been dropped, and Pauli credited Farm Bureau members for bringing the issue to legislators' attention.
"Our members made it plain that taxing productive economic enterprise will only worsen the state's budget crisis in the long run," Pauli said. "Now, more money can stay in our rural communities and generate economic growth."
"Governor Schwarzenegger recognizes that we must make California more business-friendly," Pauli said. "We will continue working with the governor and the Legislature to improve the business climate for farms, r
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top