Moffat County Farm Bureau requesting ag tax exemption

In other news

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, Jan. 25 and Jan. 28 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 3-0, a contract for tutoring services and GED preparation between the Moffat County Department of Social Services and Colorado Student Care, of Craig, not to exceed $12,000.

• Approved, 3-0, a resolution to appoint members of the Northwest Regional Workforce Development Board and to appoint a local elected official to the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium Board of Local Elected Officials.

• Approved, 3-0, certification of the Moffat County public trustee and fourth quarter report of revenues totaling $6,840 and expenses totaling $2,293.99

• Approved, 3-0, a senior citizen application for snow removal.

• Approved, 3-0, a request for temporary closure of county road 75P from Feb. 12 through March 31

• Approved, 3-0, a personnel requisition for the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office for a regular, part-time, budgeted court security deputy at the Moffat County Courthouse.

• Discussed a Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership long-range, comprehensive strategic economic development plan.

Brent Brighton, a Moffat County Farm Bureau Board member, presented an idea Tuesday he believes would help level the playing field for Moffat County farmers and ranchers.

At its regular Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission heard a presentation from Brighton concerning the implementation of an agricultural sales tax exemption in the county.

Brighton asked the county waive the 2-percent county sales tax on agricultural equipment purchased by qualified farmers and ranchers.

However, budget analyst Tinneal Gerber said such a proposal would need to go before voters in the November election due to provisions in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Currently, the state has an agriculture sales tax exemption for those who qualify and counties are also allowed to waive sales tax on agriculture equipment if voters approve, Gerber said.

Moffat County currently has no other tax exemptions, she said.

Brighton said the idea has received general support from the county’s farmers and ranchers.

The tax exemption, he said, would help Moffat County be competitive with other neighboring states when it comes to agriculture equipment sales.

“With the state of Wyoming and the state of Utah basically being our neighboring (states), it makes it difficult for our farmers and ranchers to be able to compete,” he said, adding those states have significant agricultural tax exemptions. “They have got basically a 5- to 7-percent tax advantage over us, so that’s a 5- to 7-percent profit advantage.”

An agriculture tax exemption would also help the local economy, Brighton said.

“It is going to give farmers and ranchers an incentive to buy locally instead of trying to go out (somewhere else),” he said. “I mean, it is not very far to the Wyoming border … it is not that far especially when it comes to a purchase that is going to cost a farmer or a rancher thousands of dollars.”

Brighton said the Farm Bureau isn’t asking for “something special that nobody else has,” but is just “trying to get on par with everyone else.”

“If it has to go to a whole vote, maybe people won’t understand that and I think it is probably going to have to be something that the Farm Bureau would have to organize and try and show people, ‘Hey, we are not trying to get something special,’” he said.

Brighton also presented the idea to the Craig City Council during its regular Tuesday meeting.

City Attorney Kenny Wohl said the city currently conforms to several state tax exemptions, including agriculture equipment, as dictated in city code. However, Wohl said, local dealers might not have been aware of the exemption.

“That’s great news,” Brighton said at the council meeting.

The city council agreed to look into the matter further.

Gerber said a county tax exemption would have some, but not a lot, of impacts to the city’s tax base.

“The city would be impacted by the county’s part because the city does get a portion of our county sales tax,” she said. “So there possibly could be some impacts there.”

However, the nature of farm equipment sales in Moffat County also plays a part in the issue, she said.

“What happens is even if the businesses are in town, they are going to deliver it to that farm or ranch, so the delivery and actual title takes place in the county,” she said. “So, they are only paying county sales tax anyways.”

A county agriculture tax exemption ballot question would need to be approved by the county commission sometime before August, Gerber said.

Commissioner Tom Gray said he supports the agricultural tax exemption idea and would help see it onto the ballot if it has local support.

“I think it makes it fair,” he said. “And I think a lot of policy, at least in the past, has been if advocates for something to go on the ballot come forward with some support, we’d put it on the ballot.”

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Comments

Jon Pfeifer 3 years, 2 months ago

Tax breaks are about creating winners and losers. In this case, farmers, ranchers, and farm/ranch equipment dealers are the winners. The losers are everyone else. Either taxes will have to increase for everyone else or services will have to be cut.

Although the ballot measure will ask if farm/ranch equipment sales should be exempt from the county sales tax, it could be asked in another way: are you willing to pay extra taxes (or receive fewer services) so that farmers and ranchers can be exempt from paying county sales tax on equipment?

My answer is that I'm not sure. I recognize public value to farming/ranching, as i enjoy the open space, the habitat to wildlife, and the contribution of these lands to hunting. I also eat. I appreciate being able to afford that habit. So I might be willing to make a sacrifice on behalf of this industry.

However, I don't know how much of a difference a 2% break will make if we are currently 5-7% more expensive here. I think farmers/ranchers will still buy expensive equipment elsewhere. My guess is that it won't change behavior much at all, but will just eliminate the taxes on the equipment that is bought here anyways. In that sense, we are just creating a benefit to farmers/ranchers and local equipment dealers without really changing where people get their equipment.

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als362 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree. I don't mind someone getting a tax break, but I do mind that I will have to pay more to make up the difference.
If someone thinks it is a good idea for farmers to have a tax break. Then the farmers should have to do without something of equal value, as a trade back. If they don't want to do that, then this entire issue should be dropped now.

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justthefacts 3 years, 2 months ago

Fact: Tom Gray is all for this proposal. ( of course he is, how much of this will go into his pocket.

Fact: Tom Mathers is all for this also.( Now Bar supplies will have to go to the farm.)

Fact: Farmers are subsidided to grow things, paid not to grow things, (CRP), recieving many millons of dollars in energy leases, getting paid for damage from game animals, making money from hunting game animals, recieve reduced rates on fuels, recieve huge government discounts and subsidies for farm equipment purchased, recieve special interest rates when borrowing for the farm,driving new pickups every year, buying $200,0000.00 tractors, purchasing every available commerical property when it comes available in town, and having a better lifestyle than 98% of the population in the communities where they live.

Fact: The farmers in North Dakota just became rich from energy prodiction, they also still take every program the government at all levels offer.

Fact: Enough is enough!!!

Fact: The rest of us have to pay our fair share to maintain our lifestyle. Can I get a subsidy for being a coal miner, or power plant worker? I am producing energy that we all need, and it needs to be cheap!

Question: Name one other business that recieves these cuts? Anybody???

Comment: If farmers can't make it without the rest of taxpayers paying their way, they need to find another profession!!! ( But you can't make that kind money just anyplace)

Fact: The Commissioners Pal, and former Commissioner, T. Wright likes this also. ( Now that is a reccomendation!!!)

Fact: Everytime I leave town something stupid like this happens. ( Make up facts on the way I'm sure, what else could have happend in two weeks?)

Just The cultivation of the Facts

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craiggirl 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm confused - Aren't Tom Gray and Tom Mathers against socialization? Isn't giving one industry a tax break just another form of socialization? What about the subsidies that farmers and ranchers receive? Socialization? Maybe they could clarify this for their constituents.

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