MSGA: Agriculture caught in middle of veto fiasco

Mental health funding, tax conformity latest victims of 2018 session

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) is once again disappointed, but not surprised by yet another veto of important legislation by Gov. Mark Dayton that would have helped struggling Minnesota farm families.

Gov. Dayton struck down the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill, which would have provided $250,000 for mental health and counseling services for rural Minnesota, and also vetoed the Omnibus Tax Bill. Securing more available mental health services for farmers was a top MSGA priority throughout the 2018 session.

“By vetoing this bill, Governor Dayton has also vetoed critical funding for mental health services for rural Minnesota,” says former MSGA President Theresia Gillie. “Having been personally devastated by the effects of depression, it’s disturbing to me this administration would sacrifice the safety and well-being of Minnesotans to satisfy an agenda.”

Gov. Dayton also vetoed the Omnibus Tax Bill, critical to Minnesota agriculture, which has seen farm incomes drop 50 percent since 2013 with little relief in sight. The Omnibus Tax Bill contained the following provisions:

  • Federal tax conformity that would have prevented an overly complicated tax season next year
  • Section 179 tax conformity for accelerated depreciation
  • Clarifying language that would prevent farmers from losing ag homestead
  • Language preventing local units of government from raising taxes on certain types of food or food containers

These stressors, along with low commodity prices, talk of a trade war and declining farm incomes, are just a few of the reasons why MSGA fought for mental health funding for rural Minnesotans and farm families.

“I’d like to say I’m surprised, but nothing surprises me with this administration anymore,” says MSGA President Michael Petefish. “Mental health is a real issue and Minnesotans need real solutions.”

Wednesday’s veto of both bills comes just days after Gov. Dayton struck down the Omnibus Agriculture Policy Bill. At the close of the 2018 legislative session, the governor indicated he would veto the bill because of a provision that reverts authority for soil loss back to the county level, not to the Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR). The provision that gave BWSR authority was included in the 11th hour of the buffer legislation in 2015.

The Omnibus Agriculture Policy Bill shared unanimous support among commodity groups.

“Minnesotans need help,” Petefish says. “These vetoes did nothing to help our members. This isn’t governing from the middle. This is radical. It’s extreme. We are one of the highest taxed states. Minnesotans could use a tax break. Farm incomes are down 50 percent and farmer stress is high. There was a lot in these bills that could have helped farmers and rural Minnesota.”

About Minnesota Soybean Growers Association
MSGA is a non-profit, farmer-controlled membership organization established in 1962. Its goal is to ensure profitable soybean farming by influencing favorable ag legislation, monitoring government policies and supporting research and market development activities.


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