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Protecting Farm & Family

This past week Congress completed its legislative work for the calendar year. While much of what was jammed through Congress in the 11th hour represented more of the same in Washington; there was one piece of legislation which will provide large scale tax relief to American families, farmers and business owners, which I was proud to support, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act.

As a Member of the Ways & Means Committee, the Committee with jurisdiction over all federal taxation issues, I helped author one provision in particular – making permanent section 179 expensing levels. Section 179 of the U.S. Tax Code allows small businesses, farmers, and small manufacturers to immediately expense the purchase of certain equipment. Had we not taken action, come Jan. 1, the tax rate on that equipment would have increased by almost 2,000 percent!

Since 2003, section 179 expensing levels have been extended on a temporary, uncertain, ad-hoc basis on ten different occasions – usually for one or two years at best. That type of tax code policy does nothing to allow farmers and business owners to plan for the future. Without certainty on what their tax rates, folks can’t manage their farm or business properly nor know how much they will have to expand, invest and grow their operation. The more certainty congress can provide about long term tax rates, the more farmers and businesses can help our economy and create new jobs.

This is a major step to give farmers more peace of mind for the long term while also providing for a major reduction in taxes. Without this action, taxes would have gone up on the very farmers that keep our rural economy moving. Making this provision permanent finally ends the charade of temporary extensions and patches of U.S. tax code policy. Working on and advancing major wins like this for the farmers of Missouri was the exact reason I fought to get on the Ways & Means Committee. We are finally allowing farmers, manufactures and small business owners to plan financially for the long term so they can help grow their farm or business here in America.

Additionally, permanently extending section 179 helps provide the framework and path forward for large scale U.S. tax code overhaul in 2016 and 2017. As a Member of the House Ways & Means Committee, I have been focused on reducing the complex and cumbersome tax code facing families and employers. Simply put, we need to replace our current 75,000 page tax code with a simpler, fairer and flatter system, one which helps rural families and farmers, while getting the IRS out of their lives.

We should be looking for ways to help our farmers and families, not make running a farm or family more difficult. By providing this permanent tax relief we finally took a step in that direction. There is no better way to grow our economy than establishing a less burdensome and less costly tax code, which allows you to keep more of your hard earned money. As your voice in Washington I will continue to advocate for needed relief from unnecessary regulations, out of control spending, and a punitive tax code.

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