James July-Aug 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 29
JULY /AU GU ST 2021
“Additionally, my understanding of the
U.S. REP. DAVID SCOTT, D-Atlanta,
exemptions is that they would just delay the tax
represents Georgia’s 13th Congressional Disliability for those continuing the farming opertrict. His turf can roughly be thought of as the
ation until time of sale, which could result in
area of metro Atlanta outside of the perimeter
further consolidation in farmland ownership.
from 4:00-11:00 if the perimeter is the clock
would make it more difficult for young,
face. There are a lot of zigs and zags, particularly
beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers
in the southeast portion of Scott’s district, but it
to get into farming.”
is generally southwest metro Atlanta.
Attracting new farmers or keeping rural resOn the most perimeter adjacent portions of the
idents in farming is a challenge for rural communities
district, it is quite urban, or at least suburban, like in Smyrand those that represent them. As this is written, it’s hard to
na, College Park or Stockbridge. But by the time you reach
say if this onerous “death tax” will be imposed by Congress.
the “outer”— or furthest from the perimeter parts of the
But credit non-farmer Scott for sounding a Paul Revere-like
district— it is denitively rural (think Lovejoy, Chattahoochwarning as to what will happen regarding family-owned
ee Hills, Palmetto). That rural section is just close enough
farms if Biden’s current tax proposal is passed into law.
to Atlanta, however, that the pressures of development are
great and threaten to radically change the lifestyles, economy
Baker Owens is a staff writer for InsiderAdvantage Georgia and James.
and culture of those who live in those places.
It’s a dynamic that sets up quite nicely for Scott to
be the House Agriculture Committee chairman— despite
many probably wondering why a guy from the Atlanta suburbs would be heading such a panel.
But the chairman he is, and one of Scott’s policy issue
viewpoints has drawn bipartisan attention during the debate
over President Joe Biden’s proposal to change the capital
gains taxation on inherited property. The changes have been
suggested as one of the ways Biden would be able to pay for
the $1.8 trillion paid leave, childcare and education proposal.
As reported by Roll Call, Scott sent a letter to Biden
calling the proposal “untenable” and said exemptions that
allow delays on payment are insufficient. “Any increase in
inheritance tax for those taking over farmland is untenable
and will further strain a farm economy that is just now beginning to recover from the strain of the pandemic,” Scott
told the newspaper.
Scott stressed to Biden that the tax proposal (also
known as “the death tax”) puts an unfair burden on farmers, ranchers and generally smaller landowners in rural
America. He says the suggested changes to the tax regulation could cause family farmers to break up and sell land
to cover the inheritance costs. That not only hurts the
protability for smaller farmers but furthers an already
worrying level of land consolidation in rural America by
giant corporations without any individual connections to
the communities where they own large tracts.
“The potential for capital gains to be imposed on heirs
at death of the landowner would impose a signicant
J ULY/ AUG UST 2 0 2 1
nancial burden on these operations,” Scott emphasizes.