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House passage of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gets cheers from ag

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The U.S. House approval of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a step in the right direction, according to several agricultural groups and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Perdue hailed the House of Representatives’ passage of historic tax cuts and reforms as an important step toward providing much-needed relief to Americans, creating jobs, and boosting the economy.

“We haven’t had an overhaul of the burdensome federal tax code since the mid-1980s and it is well past time to provide needed relief to workers and families. The people of agriculture dedicate their lives to putting food on the table for their fellow citizens and they deserve to keep more of what they earn from their labors,” Perdue said. “I applaud President Trump for his leadership in driving the debate and clearing a path for historic and significant tax cuts and reforms, just as I am pleased to see the sense of urgency with which Congress is moving toward a solution. The result will be more money in people’s pockets, more jobs created, and a more vibrant American economy.”

“Today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by the House of Representatives puts us one step closer to a tax code that works for all farmers and ranchers,” Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation. “Lower rates combined with the preservation of small business expensing, like-kind exchanges and the business deduction for state and local taxes are just a few of the things we are pleased to see in this legislation. We look forward to working with the Senate to build on this success in the coming weeks.”

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and fourth-generation Nebraska cattle producer, said the group applauds the death-tax repeal, but vows to keep on working on the “problematic” interest decuctibility provision.  

“House approval of this comprehensive tax-reform legislation is a step in the right direction, but we will continue to work hard to make sure that final legislation doesn’t include provisions that would create undue and unfair burdens for certain segments of our industry,” Uden said. “Specifically, this bill would immediately double the death-tax exemption and put the tax on the path to extinction in five years. That’s a major victory for family ranchers and cattle producers. The bill also fully preserves the step-up in basis, allows businesses to immediately and fully expense the cost of new investments, increases Section 179 small-business expensing limits, and expands cash accounting. These are all victories for cattle producers.

“Unfortunately, the House-passed bill would also significantly limit the ability of some businesses from deducting their interest expenses. This could be a big problem for some members of the cattle-production business. We’ve worked closely with Members of Congress to address this issue, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to fix this problematic provision as this legislation moves forward in the Senate and toward a House-Senate conference committee.”

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