Can farmers afford local levies?


Agriculture is the backbone of the county’s economy. Today’s successful farmer must keep abreast of the latest changes in input costs such as fuel, grain, fertilizer and herbicide prices. He must be aware of machinery costs and land rental prices. Weather is a constant unknown. Someone in a suit in Chicago sets the price for the product the farmer produces.

Last year, Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) costs tripled in some cases, raising property taxes. Each farmer will need to decide if he can continue to afford to support local levies. There are several on the ballot. In Washington Twp., for example, there is a 1.5-mill renewal for repair of roads and bridges and a 1.6-mill renewal for fire protection. Together, they total 3.1 mills. Both are valuable and worthwhile, but can farmers afford them?

Compounding the problem is the fact that the personal property tax and the inheritance tax (death tax) have been eliminated by the state. These monies were used to fund local government. In addition to raiding local treasuries, the governor is diverting money supporting local schools to support unregulated charter schools.

This system of robbing Peter to pay Paul is unsustainable, yet local leaders and some voters continue to support the politicians who raided local treasuries.

Don Spurling


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