EDITORIALS

Bait-and-switch Biden is bad for Wisconsin farmers

Rep. Tony Kurtz

Farmers are the backbone of our nation. Across the state, family farmers and agriculture workers spend countless hours performing backbreaking labor in their efforts to send food to family tables across the world and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. Farmers are especially important to our economy and our way of life here in Wisconsin, where agriculture contributes approximately $105 billion towards total state revenue and provides nearly half a million jobs. 

Unfortunately, not only does President Biden want to increase the number of hurdles farmers have to overcome in order to be successful -- but he couldn’t even bother to follow through on his promise to visit a family farm in rural Wisconsin.

President Biden was recently supposed to visit Iowa County to highlight agricultural issues facing our state. Yet Biden ultimately didn’t talk about agriculture. Instead, he ditched his planned trip and made a last-minute stop in La Crosse, where he touted his government spending proposals and highlighted electric city buses.

Understandably, this change disappointed many Wisconsin farmers who were looking forward to their industry being highlighted by a presidential visit. One farmer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the change in topic was a “major letdown” and that “agriculture is taking a backseat in this administration.”

Yet Biden’s bait-and-switch on Wisconsin farmers confirms what we in rural Wisconsin already know: Biden doesn’t care about Americans in the Heartland, and he doesn’t care to understand our way of life. In fact, with his proposed death tax that would prevent many families from passing their farms from one generation to the next, Biden’s presidency threatens to upend our livelihoods as we know them.

Currently, our tax code does not impose tax burdens on families who pass down their businesses from one generation to the next -- which helps family farms as their businesses grow in value over time. Yet under his massive tax-and-spending plan, Biden is proposing a backdoor death tax on farmers that would essentially make a family member’s death a transaction and force their loved ones to pay for the appreciated value of their farms after they have passed.

Multigenerational farmers could potentially be forced into selling their family legacy, rather than passing it down for the next generation to grow. According to an analysis by the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition, this backdoor death tax would crush over a million jobs across the country, shrink our economy by $10 billion each year and eliminate 80,000 jobs per year over the next decade.

Meanwhile, Governor Tony Evers, who joined President Biden at his bus station tour, has been silent on the backdoor death tax. If the governor really cared about rural Wisconsin, he would stand up against this potentially devastating threat to family farms across the Badger State. 

Rep. Tony Kurtz

Rep. Tony Kurtz of Wonewoc represents the 50th Assembly District