With most of the nation’s agricultural focus resting on the debate over the federal farm bill, Iowa farmers are quietly pushing for increased fuel taxes to repair crumbling infrastructure.
The state of rural infrastructure has recently come under scrutiny, especially in rural areas where crumbling highways and bridges have made it difficult for many farmers to travel. About 65 percent of all interstate highways run through rural areas and their maintenance is vital to the economic wellbeing of the agricultural sector. Without easy access to markets, many farmers would have difficulty selling enough of their product to stay in business.
The fuel tax debated in Iowa sought to increase state taxes on motor fuel in order to better fund state infrastructure programs. The bill’s failure in the statehouse has become a source of worry for the farm community, who see strengthening rural highways as a major part of protecting their financial interests.
“Our work’s not done,” Farm Bureau President Craig Hill. “We were quite disappointed.”
On a more positive note for Iowa farmers, a proposed property tax increase was recently defeated. While they didn’t oppose the basic need for increased commercial property taxes to raise dangerously low state revenues, many farmers were worried that they might be unfairly singled out for increased taxation.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer