Extending Agricultural Priorities
For four and a half months at the start of the year, the Legislature spends countless hours crafting and debating legislation to make Missouri a better place to live, work and raise a family. One of the bills we passed this year was legislation aiming to strengthen our state’s No. 1 industry – agriculture. House Bill 1720, an omnibus agriculture bill, renews and extends a number of important ag-related tax credit programs, among other provisions. This includes extending two key MASBDA programs, the New Generation Cooperative Incentive and the Agricultural Product Utilization tax credits for two years.
While the Legislature is in charge of passing bills, the lawmaking process doesn’t end when session is over. Mirroring a similar setup at the federal level, Missouri has a system of checks and balances that allows the governor to have a say on whether legislation becomes law. With that in mind, the governor recently vetoed HB 1720. He cited the importance of the MASBDA tax credit programs versus what he saw as their short extension as one of the reasons for vetoing the legislation. The governor is now considering calling the General Assembly back for an extra session to address the issue and extend the tax credits for a full six years.
I understand the governor’s rationale for vetoing the legislation. I would like to see the MASBDA tax credits extended beyond the two years passed by the General Assembly as well. After all, these are some of the most effective tax credit programs in our state, making a real difference in the lives – and budgets – of our state’s farmers. According to the governor’s office, these two programs alone have helped provide over $260 million in estimated direct and indirect benefits since Fiscal Year 2000. If we can provide a little more assurance to our farmers that these programs will be there when they need them, we should.
If an extra session is called, you can trust I’ll do everything I can to ensure our state’s ag industry stays as strong as possible.
As always, I am honored to serve the citizens of the 6th Senatorial District. Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.