Johnson sounds alarm over farm tax bill

Measure would eliminate B&O tax exemption, add sales tax to farm auctions


Rep. Norm Johnson says he’s very concerned about a new tax bill introduced last week in the Senate that could have widespread consequences against local farmers.

Senate Bill 5911 would apply the state’s business and occupation tax to farmers whose gross income is $200,000 or more.

Johnson, R-Yakima, called it a direct attack against farmers.

“There’s a great deal of difference between what farmers gross and what they net. The business and occupation tax does not differentiate between whether or not a farmer has made a profit. It could have a tremendous impact on all sizes of farms and could put some farmers out of business,” said Johnson.

The measure would also make farm auctions subject to the state sales tax. Johnson said that would be a double hit against farmers.

“Many farmers sell their used equipment at farm auctions. They’ve already paid the sales tax when they bought that equipment. This measure would be a double whammy against them because they would have to pay it again,” he said.

Johnson said poor market prices combined with a weak economy are already having a substantial effect on farms. He noted government doesn’t need to be adding to farmers’ burdens.

“What you’re going to see is the small grower selling to the larger growers and the larger growers being taxed to the point that they consider whether to stay in business,” added Johnson. “I would encourage anyone with concerns about this tax measure to contact the Senate Ways and Means Committee in Olympia and let them know farmers don’t need more taxes in this time of economic recession.”

The toll-free legislative hotline number is 1-800-562-6000.

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Washington State House Republican Communications