MINORITY LEADER JAMES N. TEDISCO
December 8, 2008
Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) and Ranking Member on the Assembly Agriculture Committee Assemblyman Cliff Crouch (R-Guilford) today called for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt any consideration of a proposal that would impose a tax on "livestock emissions," thus adding another burden on New York's already beleaguered family farmers.
A recent Associated Press news article reported that, in the wake of a 2007 United States Supreme Court ruling that livestock gaseous emissions may contribute to global climate change and thus constitute a form of airborne pollution, the EPA is exploring the possibility of assessing a tax on certain farmers and ranchers.
The proposal, still in its preliminary stages, would impose a tax on farms or ranches having over 200 hogs, 50 cattle or 25 dairy cows, requiring them to pay a yearly charge of approximately $20 for each hog, $87.50 per head of cattle and $175 per dairy cow. The tax is applicable to farms whose livestock operations produce over 100 tons of carbon emissions annually and are subject to the Clean Air Act.
"At the same time our state endures an economic recession, the EPA thinks it's wise to impose a new tax on family farms and agri-businesses? If ever there was need for a crystal clear example of a federal agency completely out-of-touch with reality, the EPA just filled that bill," Tedisco stated.
"This proposal from the EPA would only add to the financial challenges facing family farmers and New York's agri-businesses. Why the EPA would seek to impose new taxes - while Upstate farmers are struggling in one of the worst economies in recent years - is simply beyond me. New York's Congressional delegation should ensure this ludicrous plan goes nowhere fast," Tedisco said.
"Family farms are the backbone of New York's economy - they simply cannot afford this latest harebrained scheme from the EPA in light of a fiscal downturn gripping our state and our nation. Do livestock gaseous emissions really constitute a federal priority?" Crouch asked.
"The EPA's proposal to assess these new taxes is completely outrageous and should be rejected by Congress. Maybe the EPA doesn't have enough to do if they have time to waste on this sort of nonsense that only adds to the burden of family farmers. Congress needs to exercise its administrative oversight and get the EPA off the backs of family farmers," Crouch stated.
Both Tedisco and Crouch have been named to the New York Farm Bureau's "Circle of Friends" for their continued advocacy on behalf of New York's family farms and support for agri-business.