The Maryland Farm Bureau is active on the following bills, which may be of interest to Equiery readers.

Including Manure Equipment for Tax Adjustments

With  SB 345, livestock manure loading or hauling equipment used to transport animal manure from a farm would be added to the list of “enhanced agricultural management equipment”.  The purchase value of this type of equipment is eligible for subtraction from the federal adjusted gross income of a resident to determine Maryland adjusted gross income.

As more and more regulations are created that require the removal and hauling of manure from farms, having the ability to treat this removal equipment as essential farm equipment will help in lowering the cost of complying with these regulation.

MFB supports SB 345.

Delaying Start of School Year

HB 389 would prohibit public schools and publicly funded prekindergarten programs from opening for pupil attendance prior to the day after Labor Day.

Starting school after Labor Day will benefit the number one industry in the state, Agriculture.  Maryland’s State Fair, 4-H and FFA programs and a decrease of available labor during the last two weeks of August are the primary areas negatively affected by starting school earlier than Labor Day. It is projected that small family owned farm businesses lose up to 1/3 of their local student workforce because of the current school calendar.

MFB supports SB 389

Small Business Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 2015

HB 480 would exempt a person with personal property that has a total assessed value of $10,000 or less from paying personal property tax.  There is a provision in the bill that would have the state pay the county and municipality their portion on the exempted personal property tax.  This would be paid at a rate of 100% in year one, 75% year two, 50% year three, 25% year four and 0% year five and on.  MFB supports the lowering and eliminating of taxes.

MFB support HB 480

Repeal of Ag Tax Exemptions

Maryland Farm Bureau members, agricultural seed and equipment suppliers and others who seek to preserve our rural economy are urged to contact the Maryland General Assembly in opposition to HB 928, legislation that could put farms on the brink of disaster.

HB 928, entitled Sales & Use Tax – Agricultural Products and Equipment – Repeal of Exemption, was introduced by Delegate Jay Walker of Prince George’s County.  The bill would repeal the tax exemption that exists in current law for the purchase of inputs for farm operations.  If passed, this bill would require farmers to pay sales tax on the purchase of:

  • livestock,
  • feed or bedding for livestock,
  • seed, fertilizer, fungicide, herbicide, insecticide,
  • baler twine or wire,
  • fuel for farm equipment and tractors,
  • containers to transport products to market,
  • farm vehicles,
  • milking equipment, and
  • all other farm equipment used to raise livestock, prepare, irrigate or tend the soil, or plant, service, harvest, store, clean, dry or transport seeds or crops.
  • The bill also applies the sales tax to services performed on the farm such as fabrication, processing, or sawmill services for wood that remains on the farm.

The current exemption is in place because farmers, like other businesses that build or manufacture a product for consumer consumption, have always been exempt from taxation during the input and production process.  Just like we would not expect an automobile manufacturer to pay sales tax on every piece of metal, fastener or fabric used to produce a car or on the assembly line parts to move those products, we should not expect farmers to pay retail sales tax for the items they purchase to grow food, fiber, and fuel.

The Hearing on HB 928 is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 1:00pm in the House Ways and Means Committee.

For more information, visit Maryland General Assembly.