Working to Preserve Wyoming Livelihoods
By Congresswoman Liz Cheney
Earlier this month, I joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in the House of Representatives on a Congressional resolution recognizing the importance of the stepped-up basis provision in the tax code to preserve family-owned farms, ranches and small businesses.
Across Wyoming, our family ranches and farms depend upon being able to pass their operations from one generation to the next without the overwhelming burden imposed by inheritance taxes. The stepped-up basis provision is a crucial element in ensuring our family farms and ranches can continue to do what they do best: feed our state and nation.
Especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, which presented unprecedented challenges for our ag industry and other related small businesses, the last thing we should be doing is saddling this community with more government overreach and higher capital gains taxes.
The resolution I am co-sponsoring calls for three specific things: expresses unwavering support for the preservation of the stepped-up basis provision; conveys opposition to any effort to impose new taxes on family farms or small businesses; and recognizes the importance of generational transfers of farm and small business operations.
Maintaining this provision is necessary for the preservation of family farms and ranches, not only in Wyoming, but across the country. An analysis done by Texas A&M University suggests without stepped-up basis, the average additional tax liability for farms would rise to $726,104. Another study, from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, finds the average value of agricultural land and buildings was $1,050 per acre in 2000, which is 52 times greater than the average of $20 per acre in 1900.
Imposing massive tax burdens on farms passed down through families will put our farmers and ranchers out of business and end operations which have been in some families for decades and longer. Far too frequently, inheritors of family farmland have been forced to sell some, or all, of the inheritance to meet tax obligations. This is devastating for our ag families, and also for our local communities.
U.S. Department of Agriculture figures indicate over 98 percent of American farms are family-owned. Without the stepped-up basis, 66 percent of all mid-sized farms would face an increased tax liability.
The resolution I co-sponsored to protect this essential provision has the support of the American Farm Bureau, Nationals Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, USA Rice, National Grange and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, who all recognize the importance of maintaining this critical tax tool.
Protecting the stepped-up basis tax provision is vital to ensuring the next generation of farmers and ranchers can continue feeding and fueling the world, and I am proud to fight for Wyoming’s ag industry and our farm and ranch families.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) serves as Wyoming’s lone member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives and was first elected in 2016, on a platform of pursuing conservative solutions to help create jobs, cut taxes and regulation, expand America’s energy, mining and ag industries and restoring America’s strength and power in the world.