Trump, Biden Square Off on Taxes, Ag Issues

The American Farm Bureau Federation has for the past 40 years asked every presidential candidate to respond to questions on issues relevant to farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

The AFBF has shared responses to a series of questions posed to President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Vice President Joe Biden. The responses are unedited.

The candidates address rural life and health, regulatory reform, international trade, energy, farm policy, agricultural labor, food system resiliency, sustainability and climate change, clean water, biotechnology, and the Endangered Species Act.

This Association will share in Shortliner questions and responses most directly related to the farm equipment industry. To see responses on every topic, go to fb.org.

AFBF Question on Taxes

Agriculture operates in a world of uncertainty. From unpredictable national situations to commodity and product market instabilities to fluctuating input prices, from natural disasters and damaging weather events to insect or disease outbreaks, running a farm or ranch business is challenging under the best of circumstances. The vast majority of farm and ranch operations are pass-through businesses and many of the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that benefit them are temporary. Farmers and ranchers need a tax code that provides certainty and recognizes their unique financial challenges. As president, what provisions would you support to help farmers and ranchers remain on the land and producing food, fuel and fiber?

Trump Response

One of the most important achievements of my first term was to gain passage of the most significant tax reform in our nation’s history. Both corporate and individual rates were reduced, capital gains tax were significantly reduced, and the death tax burden, which directly hits our family farms across the US, were significantly reduced by raising the exemption level and addressing the stepped-up basis.

These tax cuts have unleashed the strength of our farm economy, allowing farmers to have certainty about future generations, and allowing farmers to invest more of their revenue back into their businesses and communities.

We already know that a Biden Administration will work to raise taxes from day 1. To make matters worse, because of the capital intensive nature of farming, these tax increases could have an even greater negative impact on farmers and ranchers if they are unable to make important investments in land, equipment, and inputs necessary to generate such abundant results.

Is there any farmer in America that does not believe that Joe Biden will want to dramatically raise estate taxes? President Trump does not believe that death should be a taxable event simply because someone built a successful business.

Biden Response

We are committed to a set of fiscal policies that encourage American prosperity and benefit American businesses across the economy—not just the well-connected few.

We will work with Congress to implement a fair, permanent tax code that provides certainty to plan for the future, while abolishing incentives that reward companies for offshoring production or avoiding taxes by using tax havens.

In addition, we will raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, rolling back the Republicans massive $1.3 trillion giveaway to corporations and putting small businesses on equal footing with large corporations.

This additional revenue will be used to make investments in households and businesses around the country, including those that will help farmers and ranchers boost their productivity and better compete in world agricultural markets.