WA farmers say killing tax exemption could drive them out of business

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 3, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 3 at 6:29 PM

CURTIS, Wash. - Dave Fenn is a third generation farmer in Lewis County. If lawmakers eliminate a sales tax exemption for farmers, he says he's not sure Fenn Farms will make it to the fourth generation.

Currently, farmers do not have to pay sales tax on pesticides and fertilizers. That exemption is one of many lawmakers have proposed to end this legislative session.

The state is facing an estimated $2.8 billion deficit. Budget writers have said they want to raise taxes instead of making deep cuts to schools, social programs and health services.

Fenn says eliminating the farmer exemptions would cost his business thousands of dollars. He says that might help the state balance its budget, but it would come with a cost.

"The long term effect is there will be less farmers in Western Washington," said Fenn.

Fenn said increased regulations and a high minimum wage have sent farmers out of business, out of state or out of the country.
 

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