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Illinois farmers urged to respond to
ag sales tax increase    
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[APRIL 1, 2004]  The following legislative alert was sent out by the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association

Governor 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 customers either.

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 Association]


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