Politicos Cater To Special Interests

It’s enough to turn your stomach listening to the politicos at all levels crying about the lack of revenue for education, police, medicaid, on one hand while their other hand is quietly catering to special interests.

Senior Crapo complains almost daily about Obama fiscal policies, yet he seeks to redefine “small brewers” and cut taxes on the beer industry…while legislators in his home state seek to increase taxes on cigarettes and booze. Here is an excerpt from a recent Crapo press release.

Because of differences in economies of scale, small brewers have higher costs for production, raw materials, packaging and market entry than larger, well-established multi-national competitors. The BEER Act also helps states that produce barley, hops and other ingredients used by these small brewers. In addition to Senators Crapo and Kerry, the legislation is co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of 16 additional Senators.

The BEER Act would:
Currently, a small brewer that produces less than two million barrels of beer per year is eligible to pay $7.00 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced each year. This legislation will reduce this rate to $3.50 per barrel, giving our nation’s smallest brewers approximately $19.9 million per year to expand and generate jobs. This change helps approximately 1,525 breweries nationwide.

Currently, once production exceeds 60,000 barrels, a small brewer must pay the same $18 per barrel excise tax rate that the largest brewer pays while producing more than 100 million barrels. This legislation will lower the tax rate to $16 per barrel on beer production above 60,000 barrels, up to two million barrels, providing small brewers with an additional $27.1 million per year that can be used to support significant long-term investments and create jobs by growing their businesses on a regional or national scale.

The small brewer tax rate was established in 1976 and has never been updated. This legislation would update the ceiling defining small breweries by increasing it from two million barrels to six million barrels. Raising the ceiling to six million barrels more accurately reflects the intent of the original differentiation between large and small brewers in the U.S.

WHAT CRAPO fails to say in his calculations is this: “If passed the legislation would result in a $47 million loss in revenue that go toward education, medical care, or reducing the public debt.”

In another special interest tax break favored by Senior Crapo, he proposed to eliminate income tax on small town veterinarians. Details of special interest tax break proposed by Crapo:

Washington, DC—U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) today continued their efforts to end the shortfall of veterinarians in rural areas by introducing the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act of 2011. The bipartisan bill would help meet the growing demand for veterinarians nationwide by eliminating taxes on programs that encourage veterinarians to practice in underserved areas.

This legislation would provide a federal income tax exemption for payments received under the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and similar state programs that encourage veterinarians to practice in smaller and rural communities. The VMLRP law makes the federal government responsible for paying taxes on the income to the veterinarian. Rather than awarding full funding for this program each year, the VMLPR must immediately give back 39 percent of the money it receives to the U.S. Treasury as a federal tax. The Johnson-Crapo bill simply removes this tax burden so that more veterinarians can be selected and help rural America. This bill would make VMLRP money tax exempt and allow the program to increase the number of veterinarians selected by a third.

“This bill will help create new jobs and protect public health in rural America,” Crapo said. “Outside of the benefits to livestock and agricultural producers, it would improve disease surveillance and response as well as improve animal welfare. In Idaho alone, 33 of our 44 counties are in designated shortage areas. This legislation will help alleviate the shortage of veterinarians and maximize training through addressing the tax treatment of program assistance.”

“I know that we have a lot on our plate during this session of Congress, but we can’t let this problem go unsolved. The demand for veterinarians is continuing to grow at a time when some communities already lack a practicing veterinarian. This is simply unsustainable, especially when the livelihood of our producers depends on the health of their livestock. We can increase the number of veterinarians placed in underserved and shortage areas by one third if this bill becomes law,” said Johnson.

Nationwide, there are 500 counties that have at least 5,000 farm animals but no veterinarians in the area to treat them. This shortage could have dire consequences on human and animal health, public safety, animal welfare, disease surveillance and economic development. The demand for veterinarians is projected to lead to a four to five percent shortfall per year between 2010 and 2016.

Congress has acted in the past to maximize the impact of loan repayment programs. In 2004, Congress passed the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 to exempt the benefits made available under the National Health Service Corps, a federal loan repayment program established to increase medical care in underserved areas.

Support for the Crapo-Johnson bill has grown to include a cross-section of Senators from both sides of aisle since the legislation was first introduced last year. Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Thad Cochran (R-Missouri), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) , Gillibrand (D-New York), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) support the legislation.

This bill has also garnered the support of more than 120 animal, agricultural and veterinary medicine organizations nationwide, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. What is that old saying, “all politics are local”. There is another saying from an old US Senator from Washington. “In politics, it is much better to be owed a favor raher than be owing”!
    It appears that all levels of political office cater to special interests and the constituency be damned! Lord! this is getting old!

  2. The argument should not be “this revenue could have gone to x.” The agrument should be why do we have an arbitrary tax on a keg of beer that is $7 per barrel? Every tax should be evaluated this way. This is already one of the most highly regulated and overtaxed industries in the state. If they are making so much money then tax them on the money they make. Don’t give them a bill before they even make a dime.

  3. Politicians are whores. What’s new G-man?

    Ever see Crapo or Risch say that farmers need to get off the hind tit of the federal government and forgo the massive farm subsidy programs?

  4. Hey dog, I think farmers are on the front tit, not the hind tit. BTW wasn’t Crapo somehow involve in trying to secure a middle tit for the city of boise’s train?

  5. My son lives in Helena, Mt and one of the things that struck me as odd was the numbers of micro breweries. All of BG words on Crapo and beer taxes led me to ask how Helena got so many of these micro breweries. The answer is …they pay no liquor or beer license fees. I can tell you from firsthand observation I do see lots of people employed in these places but they are low level pay jobs for the most part.

  6. Grumpy ole guy
    Mar 21, 2011, 10:19 am

    So “saving” 19 Billion – is that anything like saying foregoing federal revenue? The Congress is considering cuts of less than this 19 million to eliminate funding for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio, for example. If Crapo wants to give away some Federal money, maybe he’d be willing to give it to the nearly 800 teachers who stand to lose their jobs under the Luna/Otter plan.

  7. Dog, don’t be insulting whores! Most have a lot more class than any politician. Politicians are street hookers, feeding a habit of power!
    Grumpy, you need to get out a little more often. Luna blinked and the canning of 700 teachers is gone from the bill.

  8. Sorry Cyclops! Thanks for correcting me.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: