Agriculture groups in California are banding together in opposition to a tax proposal that would raise taxes on gas and increase vehicle fees. The proposed tax included in a California Senate bill seeks the increases to pay for road repairs. However, a coalition of agriculture groups, including the Western Growers Association and several state commodity and livestock groups, say the tax will be a burden on struggling farming operations without greatly expanding the capacity of roads to transport goods. The coalition sent a letter to lawmakers in the state explaining that the proposal will dramatically increase transportation costs for farmers, ranchers, food processors and agricultural suppliers, according to the LA Times. Regarding vehicle fees, the letter states: “Unlike the diesel and gasoline tax, increased input costs cannot be passed to consumers by farmers and ranchers and as such must be absorbed with no added value.” California is the nation’s top food-producing state, accounting for roughly $47 billion in agricultural production in 2015.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.
Western Growers Opposes Proposed California Transportation Infrastructure Package
In response to the California transportation infrastructure funding package (SB 1) announced by Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued the following statement:
“The staggering regulatory burdens and costs placed on California farmers have already placed our industry at a competitive disadvantage relative to other states and foreign countries. These proposed fuel tax increases, including a 500% increase in the diesel sales tax, will disproportionately hit agriculture and communities dependent on our California farm economy.
“Rushed public policy is often flawed public policy and there is no good reason to rush a $50 billion tax increase through the Legislature in less than a week. Rather than dealing another financial blow to the citizens and businesses of California – one that hits farmers and farm communities especially hard – we encourage the Governor and legislators to pursue an infrastructure plan that first looks to achieve greater efficiencies in our state’s transportation programs and use those funds for infrastructure improvement rather add another tax to an overtaxed populace.”