My oldest children, ages 6 and 4, have been talking about Christmas and Santa Claus for months. In all fairness, I have too because when a fight erupts or a tantrum is thrown, I remind them Santa is watching.
With a little help from their mother, the kids wrote their official wish lists last weekend. I attempted to tack on a few requests for Santa as well, like Farm Bureau’s legislative priorities, only to be met with a firm “No!” and “Don’t be silly, Daddy!” It was worth a try. Our organization’s wish list is better directed at Congress anyway.
With a conference report completed, reauthorization of the federal highway bill will soon be checked off the list. Efforts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. and Clean Power Plan rules are ongoing. Congress must find a way to stop the agency’s regulatory overreach.
Unsurprisingly, Congress must also decide how to handle the 50-plus tax provisions that expired at the end of 2014. Among the provisions are section 179 small business expensing, bonus depreciation and renewable fuels/energy incentives supported by farmers and ranchers. Lawmakers passed “tax extender” legislation just before Christmas last year, only to let the provisions lapse on December 31.
Farmers and other small business owners are asking Congress to act yet again because tax uncertainty makes business planning more difficult. The House of Representatives has passed bills to permanently extend section 179 small business expensing, the tax deduction for donating food and the tax deduction for donating conservation easements. Legislation to permanently extend 50 percent bonus depreciation has cleared the Ways and Means Committee. In July, the Senate Finance Committee approved a two-year extension of 52 tax provisions.
We hope Congress will move quickly to mark “tax extenders” off of its list — and take a longer-term approach this time. ‘Tis the season for optimism, right?
Garrett Hawkins, of Jefferson City, is director of national legislative programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.