Eye On Boise

Dean: Farmers support schools through taxes

John Hammel, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho, tells legislative budget writers Monday that more cuts in extension funding are coming. (Betsy Russell)
John Hammel, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho, tells legislative budget writers Monday that more cuts in extension funding are coming. (Betsy Russell)

John Hammel, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho, said deep cuts loom in extension funding. Responding to a question from Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, however, he bristled at a contention in a recent Lewiston Tribune editorial that the ag community should step up with user fees to keep extension centers running. "I want to point out that agriculture through the land base supports the tax base for school districts throughout the state," Hammel told Ringo, and added that farmers also pay sales taxes. Plus, he said, "producers assess themselves," to help pay for items including extension research. "They do, in fact, besides paying taxes to support the service, they do in fact step up and pay for research they support," Hammel said. "That is not to say that we should not look at our funding. ... We need to do that."

Property taxes that farmers pay in Idaho are reduced substantially by the agricultural exemption from property tax, and purchase of combines and other equipment used by farmers is exempt from the sales tax under the production exemption. Asked about that after his presentation, Hammel noted that homeowners also get an exemption for part of their home value from property taxes. As for farmers, he said, "There are exemptions, but they also provide a base level of support for the local districts. ... The thing about ag statewide, it's providing jobs in the rural areas, it's providing dollars for education."




You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise
Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

Follow Betsy online:






Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile