Sen. Hoeven talks taxes, wetland determination in Bismarck

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., was in Bismarck Monday talking about the Senate's tax bill with finance, energy and agricultural leaders.

One of the main components is the repealing of the individual mandate from the Affordable Healthcare Act. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Congress was within its powers to issue the individual mandate because it is a tax. Sentaor Hoeven says repealing the mandate does not eliminate a person's access to the healthcare exchange.

“For people that make $75,000, something like 90 percent are the ones that are subject to this tax. We repeal that tax on low income people but any assistance or support is still there and still available to them,” said Hoeven.

The senate version would allow for deductions on student loan interest and medical expenses, which the House bill eliminated.

Hoeven also talked with farmers about changing rules in wetland determination. The meeting also included acting chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service Leonard Jordan.

Farmers expressed concerns with the length of time and the process NRCS uses in wetland determination, which can affect where a farmer plants.

“We've seen a lot of our wettest years in the last 100 and so the NRCS uses a lot of criteria from those wet years to try to determine what is a wetland today. And that's trouble for the farmer,” said Chad Weckerly, a farmer from Hurdsfield, N.D.

Farmers also talked about making changes to the rules regarding wetland mitigation, which allows farmers to convert wetlands to production land if they replace it.