A four-bill package amending the state’s sales and use tax laws related to agricultural exemptions easily passed the Michigan House of Representatives on June 6 by a vote of 107-1.
Supported by Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) member-developed taxation policy, House Bills 4561-4564 are sponsored by Reps. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway), Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) and Tom Barrett (R-Potterville).
“The legislation, in part, simply makes changes requested by the Department of Treasury to lessen perceived ambiguity in describing the exemption being applicable to activities performed by a business that constitute an agricultural purpose such as tilling, planting, draining, caring for and harvesting,” said MFB Legislative Counsel Rebecca Park. “Agriculture isn’t losing or gaining exemptions, this is merely a clarification and technical fix.”
In addition, the bills authorize continuation of the Agricultural Disaster Loan Origination Program created in 2012 to aid fruit growers who had lost significant amounts of their crop due to fluctuations in the spring temperature. While funding doesn’t currently exist for the program, maintaining the policy language keeps a structure intact for the state to provide low-interest loans to growers, producers, processors, and some retail establishments to help alleviate financial distress caused by crop damage directly attributable to natural disasters.
The legislation now awaits consideration by the Senate Agriculture Committee.