January 21, 2020

Sen. Thune Highlights Tax Issues with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew

Feb. 5- U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, questions U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about the president’s proposal to add a second death tax on family farms and businesses.

A news release today from Sen. Thune indicated that, “[Sen. Thune] today at a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee questioned U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about the Obama administration’s proposal to institute a second death tax on South Dakota family farms and businesses. Thune offered an example of how the administration’s capital gains proposal will negatively impact family farms in South Dakota and called on the secretary to explain the intent behind their capital gains proposal.

“‘[The administration’s] proposal, if enacted, would have a devastating impact on family farms and small businesses in my state of South Dakota. I want to give you an example… if you take a typical family farm that bought…640 acres back in 2000 for $640,000, which…in South Dakota that would be considered a small farm. Today that same farmland is probably worth somewhere between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, depending on where it’s located.

“‘So under the current estate tax law, which excludes assets up to $5.43 million, the family farm isn’t taxed when it passes from one generation to the next. Now under the administration’s proposal, this family farm would be hit with a significant tax when the family farm is transferred to the next generation of family members. …so in that example this South Dakota family would suddenly find themselves facing a tax bill of $1 million or more.'”


Wall Street Journal Video: Humble Cut of Beef’s Sudden Popularity Drives Up Prices, Upsetting Some Barbecue Traditionalists

From The Wall Street Journal- Brisket used to be a cheaper alternative to top cuts like sirloin, but the tasty meat has seen a sudden spike in popularity and prices are soaring.

Related Journal article, “Brisket Was Cheap and Delicious; Now It’s Expensive and You Have to Wait in Line.”


Policy; Trade; Regulations; Biofuels; Labor; and, the Ag Economy

Policy Issues

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom reported yesterday that, “The chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees detailed some of their priorities Tuesday in speeches before the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

“House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, discussed a wide range of issues. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., used most of his speech to explain where he thinks the nation stands politically.”

Mr. Hagstrom indicated that, “Conaway also said he hopes the House Budget Committee — should it undertake budget reconciliation — gives the Agriculture Committee a dollar figure to cut from the programs under the committee’s jurisdiction without any instructions on what to cut.

“Conaway declined to say whether he would take any cut entirely from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the biggest program at USDA, which accounts for about 70% of USDA spending.

“Conaway said President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, which includes a cut to the crop insurance program, has no chance of being approved by Congress, but did not rule out a cut to crop insurance in reconciliation.”