Ag a part of state budget debate

Line-item increases for Extension, county fairs and soil and water conservation districts among the spending bumps. Biodiesel, E85 tax incentives also extended.

The Illinois House approved an income tax increase as well as a spending plan on Sunday, but Gov. Bruce Rauner has threatened to veto. (Photo by Mike Orso)
The Illinois House approved an income tax increase as well as a spending plan on Sunday, but Gov. Bruce Rauner has threatened to veto. (Photo by Mike Orso)

By Jim Taylor

Lost in Sunday’s debate over revenue and spending bills at the state capitol was the impact on Illinois agriculture. On the revenue side, which included both an income tax and corporate tax increase approved by the Illinois House, there were several ag-related issues of note.

“One of those being that the biodiesel sales tax incentive was extended until 2023,” said Mark Gebhards, Illinois Farm Bureau’s executive director of governmental affairs and commodities. “The E-85 sales tax incentive was extended as well until 2023.”

The revenue bill also included a sunset provision on the E-10 sales tax incentive.

“So that was the trade-off of giving up something that at least from the renewable fuel industry, they feel that E-10 is well on its way and didn’t need the incentive that was needed for E-85 and biodiesel,” Gebhards said. 

Mark Gebhards, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for Illinois Farm Bureau
Mark Gebhards, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for Illinois Farm Bureau

On the spending side, Sunday’s House action did include some specific increases for ag-related projects.

“There’s $1 million to do the facility in Edwardsville, the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center. and $5 million to the ag education line, which had previously been at $1.8 million,” Gebhards said.

The spending bill also includes an additional $5 million to University of Illinois Extension, $5 million additional to county fairs and ag services and $13.5 million for soil and water conservation districts, which is a $5 million increase.

Gebhards said those numbers could change if the Senate does not concur with Sunday’s House action. 

The House revenue bill includes an income tax hike from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent and a jump in the corporate tax rate from 5.25 percent to 7 percent. Those increases are expected to create $5.4 billion in new revenue for the state, but critics say the plan does very little to fix the state’s $15-billion backlog of unpaid bills.   

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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