By David T. Daniels
If you are lucky enough to be among the two percent of the population to proudly call yourself a farmer in Ohio, the changes you have experienced in the last few years may have felt a bit like a roller coaster. From record high rainfall to the worst drought in more than 50 years, our farmers are fighting the odds to fulfill the most important job on earth.
Fortunately, Ohio farmers will see some tax relief this new tax filing season as Ohio ushers in the largest tax cut in the nation – which will bring more certainty and stability to Ohio farmers and support our $105 billion food and agriculture industry. Personal income taxes are 8.5 percent lower this year and small businesses will see the benefit of a 50 percent tax cut on top of Ohio’s new lower rate. It’s part of a $2.7 billion tax cut that was approved last summer by Governor John Kasich. As part of this tax cut, a small business owner can exclude 50 percent of Ohio net business income from the adjusted gross income they report on their Ohio personal income tax return. Small business owners organized as Limited Liability Corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, or as S-corporations report their business income on their personal income tax return. If the business has multiple owners, each is eligible to claim the deduction. This exclusion is available on up to $250,000, meaning the deduction is capped at $125,000 for each investor or owner.
Two years ago, Ohio provided relief through income tax cuts and the elimination of the state’s estate tax, better known as the “death tax,” saving Ohioans $800 million. Often, owning just one of the pieces of machinery a farmer uses everyday meant the family would be forced to pay the death tax. His actions verified that farmers shouldn’t be penalized for owning the capital needed to grow our nation’s food. Thanks to Governor Kasich, farmers are no longer burdened with long-term financial planning and payments just to do their job.
It’s one reason Ohio’s private sector has gone from losing hundreds of thousands of jobs to adding more than 170,000 jobs since 2011, and the agricultural jobs prospects are only going to get better.
In order for Ohio to remain a leader in job creation, our farmers and other small business owners must be able to invest their capital in innovation and new positions – not in higher taxes. That is why Gov. Kasich has been so steadfast on cutting taxes. In a time when commodity prices are falling and input costs are rising, Ohio is committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a commercially viable pursuit in Ohio.
In addition to the tax cuts, Ohio gave a billion dollars in workers’ compensation rebates back to private and public customers. The rebates were made possible thanks to strong investments and sound fiscal management. Agribusinesses are using this rebate to invest in new equipment and upgrade safety features and infrastructure.
The governor understands that it is our job in state government to remove unnecessary barriers to industry and to personal success, particularly one so important to our well-being and quality of life. These tax cuts and rebates will put more money into the hands of Ohioans who can reinvest those dollars into our families and our businesses.
For Ohio farmers, these tax cuts mean you will be more efficient and more productive, and you will invest more back into your local communities. For the rest of us, we get to enjoy the benefits of an abundant, wholesome and, most importantly, affordable food supply.
David T. Daniels is the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.