Six-Cent Fuel Tax Increase a Small Price to Pay if it Means Keeping Farmers' Agricultural ExemptionFri, 12 Jan 2018 16:16:54 CST
As Oklahomans continue to find themselves in a battle to find a resolution to keep funding their state government programs, Joe Neal Hampton, executive director of the Oklahoma Grain & Feed Association, Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association and the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, brought to producers’ attention a new proposal by a group of civic and business leaders to bolster the state’s revenue stream at a grain sorghum producers meeting during the Enid Farm Show. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays spoke with Hampton after the meeting for his thoughts on the proposed plan and how Oklahoma’s agriculture industry would be affected. Listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
“I think it makes a lot of sense and the only real thing I see that would effect agriculture and rural Oklahoma is the six-cent increase in fuel tax,” Hampton said.
A small price to pay he says, if the industry hopes to keep its tax-exempt status for farm purchases - seen today as low-hanging fruit in the eyes of urban legislators. In Hampton’s view, it is time Oklahoma gave into raising its fuel tax. According to him, Oklahoma has the lowest fuel tax in the region and is among the top five states with the lowest fuel tax, which has not been increased since the 1980s. He admitted to being embarrassed of the state’s inability to pay teachers competitive salaries, fully-fund education programs, maintain our roads and bridges, control our prison population and added to the list rural Oklahoma’s suffering healthcare resources.
“We can’t keep going with continued budget deficits and robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Hampton remarked. “I know taxes are uncomfortable. People don’t like them. But, if you want to fund things you expect from government, then we’ve got to get some of the stuff we’ve given away in the past back.”
Hampton says the ag tax exemption is farmers’ Holy Grail and something the rural community can’t afford to lose.
“It would just be devastating to the grain elevators, fertilizers and seed dealers,” he said. “And it would add quite a bit to farmers’ expenses and cause them to borrow more money. So, we’ve got to be careful.”
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