Directors of the Indiana Corn Growers Association have laid out a 2016 state legislative agenda focused on local road funding, property tax reform, and tax fairness for E85 fuel. The ICGA Board approved the priorities this week ahead of the January start to the legislative session.
Farmers are calling on the General Assembly to increase funding for local roads and bridges.
“All across our state, local roads and bridges are crumbling,” said ICGA President Mike Nichols, a farmer from Spencer County. “The legislature needs to step up and improve the condition of local roads to help us move equipment, crops, livestock, and inputs to and from our farms.”
Numerous proposals have been revealed ahead of the spring legislative session. While Corn Growers aren’t taking a position on any specific proposals yet, they are clear that local roads and bridges must be a priority.
“The state can’t be solely focused on highways, cities, and towns,” said Nichols. “Roads benefit our entire economy, and farmers are focused on improving local infrastructure.”
Corn farmers have also outlined a reform of the state’s farmland property tax formula as a 2016 priority. Rates have been driven up by over 33 percent in the past five years, and farmers are seeing increasing property tax bills while net farm income has fallen precipitously.
“The formula for property taxes on farmland does not take real-world conditions into account,” said ICGA Vice President Sarah Delbecq, a farmer from DeKalb County. “We need a formula that accurately values farmland while not forcing drastic cuts to struggling local school districts.”
Farmers have also made priorities relating to biofuels. ICGA supports a use tax change on E85 fuel that taxes the fuel more fairly and strengthens misfueling liability for retailers selling mid-level ethanol blends.
To read all of ICGA’s public policy positions, visit www.incorn.org/icga.