vows to pursue his war on agriculture
(Friday, March 26)
Agribusiness MUST write letters!
Wednesday, March 24, was Ag Day at the
state Capitol. After an intense day of lobbying by all members of
the ag industry, Gov. Blagojevich called a press conference that
evening to announce he fully intends to proceed with the ag input
sales tax on fertilizer, chemicals, seed and feed. He says it will
raise $29 million and that less than 1 percent of farmers will pay
the tax. According to him only large "corporate" farms with gross
income over $1 million would be subject to the tax. The state is
using old data, and our industry estimates that nearly 1,500 farmers
would be subject to the tax. If commodity prices remain high, it
could be more than that.
We know you have contacted your
legislators on this issue, but they have not been able to convince
the governor to change his mind. You know that if the larger farmers
in Illinois take their business out of state, Illinois ag retailers
will be the ones that will truly suffer.
Please write a letter and send it to
the governor, to House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President
Emil Jones. Explain to them that farmers will take their business
out of state rather than incur a 6.25 percent tax on their inputs.
If you lose your biggest customers, you are out of business. The
Department of Revenue may be able to track down farmers and demand
payment of a use tax on farmers who drive to other states to buy
inputs, but nothing can stop an out-of-state supplier from setting
up an Internet site and selling to Illinois farmers. Companies that
do not have a retail store in Illinois do not have to charge sales
tax on products they sell to Illinois customers over the Internet.
Farmers can also reincorporate their farms to avoid paying the tax.
[to top of second
column in this article]
This proposal will
not raise $29 million. Rather, it will devastate fertilizer,
chemical, seed and feed dealers in Illinois and cost thousands of
jobs in rural Illinois communities.
Write to the
governor, the House speaker and the Senate president at:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich
James R. Thompson Center, Floor 16
100 W. Randolph
Chicago IL 60601
Speaker Michael Madigan
300 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Senate President Emil Jones Jr.
327 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Please ask your
farmer-customers to also write letters. Your "smaller" farmers may
think this tax won't hurt them, but if you lose the sales of your
big customers, you won't be around to service your small farm
Call (309) 827-2774 if you need help with
your letters. Please don't think that this can't happen. It can and
it will, if agriculture -- the state's largest industry -- doesn't
speak out to stop it.
[Legislative alert from the
Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical