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Letter: DFL’s not kind to farmers

In the last week or so my state representative and now the chair of the Chippewa County DFL have claimed I am distorting and twisting the facts about this last legislative session and refute my claim it was bad for farmers. They ask for proof. Here it is. Decide for yourself.

The Legislature, under DFL control, changed how assessors value land containing most conservation easements. Before, assessors could reduce the value for tax purposes. Now the law reads they cannot. Any farmer that has reduced taxes for land will likely see an increase.

There is now a statewide general school levy which creates a new tax on farm property. Under this tax, the education commissioner will set a uniform rate to be applied to all property in Minnesota.

There is a new maintenance and repair sales tax. Anytime equipment needs fixing, our farmers will now pay a sales tax on the service, including labor charges.

There is a warehousing and storage services sales tax. We are the first and only state to have this tax. While farm products are exempt from it, the inputs used to produce these products are not. This tax is so bad the governor is now considering repealing it.

Minnesota becomes just the second state with a 10 percent gift tax on top of an already burdensome estate tax. Good luck, next-generation farmers.

Perhaps the greatest insult to farmers came on April 29 of this year. A bill intended to correct loopholes in foreclosure laws protecting renters was being proposed. An amendment was added to include farmers, protecting them from hostile equity-stripping schemes. My representative, the fifth-generation farmer, argued against this amendment and it failed. Every farmer who leases or owns land, he voted against you.

In all, the DFL increased taxes by $2.1 billion and added an additional $300 million in new fees. Spending was increased by $3 billion.

So, yes, I stand by my assertion that the DFL-led state government was not good to farming this year.

Tim Miller