Boozman rebukes Vilsack on tax policy in WSJ letter
In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal published over the weekend, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, rebuked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for a WSJ opinion article in which Vilsack defended the Biden administration’s proposal to eliminate the stepped-up basis system of valuing assets upon death, including farmland. Vilsack said that farm families that continued in production would be protected but that other farm landowners should pay higher taxes on inherited land.
Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee passed a reconciliation bill tax proposal that did not eliminate stepped-up basis. But in a news release Monday, Sept. 21, Boozman said, “While some congressional Democrats point to the House bill as the final word on the debate over stepped-up basis, this is far from over. Just days ago, Secretary Vilsack told reporters that he is ‘confident’ that what he has said about stepped-up basis is ‘accurate’ and continued to call for changes to stepped-up basis as a means to pay for the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spend bill. As I have continually pointed out, most recently in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, the agriculture community strongly disagrees with Secretary Vilsack’s sales pitch,” Boozman said.
Boozman added, “My message to our family farmers, ranchers and foresters is continue to voice your concerns about these proposed tax increases. Secretary Vilsack needs to be listening to you, not liberal Beltway organizations or White House staffers.”
In the letter, Boozman wrote, “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s op-ed ‘Biden’s Tax Changes Won’t Hurt Family Farmers’ (Sept. 9) should have been an opportunity to clear the air on the tax increases President Biden is pushing to fund his multitrillion-dollar expansion of social programs.
“Unfortunately, the piece consists of platitudes, talking points and anecdotes meant to deflect from the damage the president’s tax increases would have on America’s nearly two million family-owned farm operations. Mr. Vilsack even suggests that ‘the people who are going to pay tax under the proposal have never plowed an acre.’
“America’s family farmers and ranchers strongly disagree. These are not absentee landowners. They aren’t a smoke screen of lobbyists, as the secretary so cavalierly alleged. Nor are they corporate boogeymen, a trope often thrown around by those detached from agriculture to justify increasing taxes on family farmers and ranchers.
“These farmers and ranchers, represented by a coalition of 330 national and state farm organizations, are urging lawmakers to oppose altering or eliminating longstanding tax-code provisions that are fundamental to the financial health of the agriculture industry. They are not buying what the Biden administration and congressional Democrats are selling. They want evidence to reassure them that the future of their family businesses is safe.
“Mr. Vilsack missed an opportune chance to reassure the agriculture community. It’s not hard to understand why. The facts that would lead to those reassurances simply do not exist.”
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