Farm bill: Congress’ failure to act puts producers at risk


THEIR VIEW

By Cora Fox - Guest Columnist



The current farm bill will expire on Sept. 30. Congress has a handful of days to make an important decision, and they have three options: to pass a final farm bill, extend the 2014 farm bill, or let the farm bill expire.

At this point, swift passage of a final farm bill before the Sept. 30 deadline seems unlikely. Yet, Congress has been unable to reach consensus. In the absence of a new farm bill, it is imperative that lawmakers extend current legislation.

Farmers and ranchers across the country rely on important programs that will sunset without an extension of the 2014 farm bill. More than $1 billion in available federal funding for a host of programs will be inaccessible. Support for beginning farmers, veterans, conservation, local food production, and more will be abandoned – and Congress is culpable.

Ignorance might be bliss for lawmakers in D.C. – far removed from the producers who are struggling to make ends meet. But, failure to take action and extend the farm bill is a disservice to America’s farmers and ranchers.

Congress must act responsibly, set aside differences, and recognize that an extension will give producers the stability they need while farm bill negotiations continue.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

Sen. Rob Portman on the Tax Cut

Ohioans are already seeing many of the positive results of the tax cut and tax reform legislation that became law before the first of the year—in their paychecks, in their businesses, and in their communities.

One provision of the new tax law you may not have heard of, “Opportunity Zones,” has the potential to boost investments and jobs in struggling communities throughout Ohio. Over time, the Opportunity Zones will help transform cities and towns in need to complement the stronger family budget and increased hiring we have already begun seeing from the more immediate changes to our tax code.

For families, one immediate benefit has been the middle-class tax cuts. Doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, and lowering tax rates across the board has more hard-earned money staying in Ohioans’ pockets. In fact, the changes to our tax code mean that an Ohio family of four at the median income is saving about $2,000 a year on their taxes.

The relief the new tax code provides to those at the lower-end of the income ladder means that more than three million Americans who paid income taxes before now have no federal income tax liability at all.

On the business side, the new tax law lowered rates and increased investments, making America’s businesses more competitive with other countries’. Ohio businesses and workers are benefiting from these changes, and I’ve seen it myself firsthand.

I’ve visited 22 Ohio companies since the first of the year that have either raised wages, hired new employees, delivered bonuses, expanded retirement benefits, or bought new equipment—and oftentimes a combination of these things—as a direct result of tax reform. I’ve also held a dozen roundtable discussions with small businesses—and all tell me the new law helps them succeed.

The new tax law also updated our international tax code to encourage bigger companies to bring overseas profits back to America and invest them in Ohio plants and American workers. In the first three months after tax reform was signed into law, more than $300 billion in profits previously held in other countries were brought back to America to be used and invested here. That’s up from just $38 billion during the same period last year.

The new Opportunity Zones will compliment these positive changes with an emphasis on communities around Ohio continuing to struggle with high levels of poverty.

It starts with states identifying those urban and rural communities that are most in need. Ohio designated 320 low-income census tracts across the state as Opportunity Zones under the new tax law. This allows investors and companies to defer paying capital gains taxes on investments in exchange for committing to invest that additional money into Opportunity Zones long-term, for 10 years or more.

Money invested through this program can be used to start new businesses or invest in existing ones. This incentive will spur investment in areas that truly need it, creating new industry, infrastructure, and jobs for cities and town across Ohio that have been left behind.

Tax reform is already creating a stronger economy with more jobs, higher wages, and a better future for many Ohio families. As this Opportunity Zones program begins to work, it will help the resurgence of struggling communities—and allow even more Ohioans live up to their God-given potential.

Letter from Gov. Kasich

Our fellow citizens are in need as Hurricane Florence made landfall on the East coast.

I’m writing you today to ask if you’ll consider making a charitable contribution to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army to fund their relief efforts.

Here’s how you can chip in right now:

  • Donate to the American Red Cross
  • Donate to the Salvation Army

America is at its best when we’re each doing what we can to support our neighbors!

Thank you,

Gov. John Kasich

Husted Declares October As

“Ohio’s Future” Month

COLUMBUS – Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced October as “Ohio’s Future” Month. Throughout the month, Ohio Business Profile will highlight a series of businesses who are using innovation to drive the future of the Buckeye State.

“The future of our economy depends on innovation,” Secretary Husted said. “The states that get it right will be the ones that win, and the ones that don’t will fall behind. We’re doing everything we can to make Ohio a winner in the years ahead.”

Businesses profiled this month include:

Development Consultants Incorporated (Dublin, Ohio) is an IT engineering company responsible for the technology behind some of the most recognizable brands and government agencies in the world. They specialize in cloud computing, security, design, architecture, and engineering professional services.

Haima Therapeutics, LLC (Cleveland, Ohio) is a portfolio company of BioEnterprise co-founded by Case Western Reserve University professor, Dr. Anirban Sen Gupta and alumnus, Dr. Christa Pawlowski. They are focused on developing bio-inspired therapies for the treatment of bleeding and other blood-related ailments.

Haney (Cincinnati, Ohio) is designed to connect and accelerate innovation in order to produce consumer-usable product samples for retail and e-commerce packaging programs. This enables brands to explore new print effects/finishes, materials, and technologies that inspire disruptive, out-of-the-box brand packaging solutions.

InSource Technologies, Inc. (Paulding, Ohio) is a contract engineering and manufacturing company providing services to original equipment manufacturers. The company offers services in electronics, wiring harnesses, and refrigeration systems to the agriculture, fire and rescue, and HVAC industries.

O’Gara Armoring (Fairfield, Ohio) designs, tests, fabricates, and produces vehicles and armored products of the highest caliber. The company also boasts a team that travels worldwide to repair vehicles in the field while their engineers provide design services.

Renergy, Inc. (Delaware, Ohio) is a renewable energy company that provides a closed-loop system, which recycles waste into energy and nutrients through anaerobic digestion. Renergy operates two anaerobic digesters, both of which are located in Ohio.

In January, Secretary Husted announced that 2017 was a record-breaking year for new businesses formed in the Buckeye State. This marks the eighth consecutive year Ohio has seen a record number of new entities file to set up shop.

Since taking office in 2011, Secretary Husted has made it a priority to offer better services to Ohio entrepreneurs and businesses at a lower cost. In 2013, he launched Ohio Business Central, which allows businesses to be created online with a significantly quicker turnaround time. This efficiency allowed the state to cut the fees associated with starting a new business by 21 percent in 2015. That same year, Secretary Husted began a partnership with Google’s “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” program making it easy for new businesses to access free tools to help them get off the ground.

Ohio Business Profile was launched in 2011 to highlight Ohio companies that create transformative products, offer outstanding service, contribute to their local communities and employ Ohioans. Each month, a handful of diverse businesses linked together by a common theme are featured on the Secretary of State’s website. Ohioans are encouraged to submit companies they feel are deserving of recognition in future months.

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THEIR VIEW

By Cora Fox

Guest Columnist

Courtesy Center for Rural Affairs, coraf@cfra.org

Courtesy Center for Rural Affairs, coraf@cfra.org