Farmers talk taxes

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Republican lawmakers are reaping what they sow and North Dakota farmers are now asking what the new tax package means for them.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the tax bill will “provide the nation’s small businesses, farmers and ranchers with relief.”

But as those North Dakota crops grow, so will the national debt.

“This bill will in fact be a budget buster, and will grow our debt and deficit by at least a trillion dollars,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Daryl Lies, the president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau is not too concerned with that.

“Over the last eight to 10 years, we grew the national debt eight to $10 trillion, and we actually enhanced crop insurance in that time frame,” said Lies, who welcomes the new system.

“I think it’s going to be pretty positive for North Dakota farmers and ranchers. We upped the 179 deduction to $1 million.”

In terms of winners and losers in this bill, the forecast for farmers looks good according to tax experts.

“It’s not going to affect them in their capacity as farmers, it’s just going to limit their ability to deduct their individual homes, but not their farm land, or farm equipment,” said Michael Mazerov, a tax expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Another hot button issue for farmers, the so-called "death tax".

“The estate tax, or the death tax, the exemption was doubled to $11 million, which you know should we really be taxing an event like death anyways?” asked Lies.

By doubling that exemption, it now only applies to a handful of farms nationwide, and those are mostly industrial, Goliath farms. Not really something North Dakota family farms need to worry about.