Joyce, Ward address Farm Bureau members

MARTINSBURG — U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District, told Blair County Farm Bureau members Friday that Congress needs to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“This would provide a big opportunity for agriculture to expand outside of the U.S. I am a big advocate to bring it to the floor and pass it for the agriculture industry. It will have a positive impact. It is a fair trade agreement that will benefit agriculture. I will vote in favor of it to benefit the 7,000 farms in Pa. 13,” Joyce said during the Farm Bureau’s annual agribusiness tour at West Central Equipment, just east of Martinsburg. “We need to get this done and signed.”

Farm Bureau members discussed several other topics during the annual event.

Farm Bureau members remain opposed to Sunday hunting.

“Farm Bureau has stated we are very much against Sunday hunting because most farmers respect Sunday as a day of rest. Personally, I don’t want to be bugged on Sunday. We feel it is a day of rest and would like to keep it that way. We are like the Chick-fil-A people,” said Louis Brenneman of Williamsburg.

“My constituents have said they do not want Sunday hunting. The NRA wants Sunday hunting. That is their No, 1 issue. I was taken aback by that,” said state Sen. Judy Ward, R-30th District.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is advocating for changes to Pennsylvania’s income tax laws to bring them more in line with federal tax laws. Specifically, Farm Bureau thinks Pennsylvania laws do not provide to small businesses the same opportunity to receive several key tax benefits that are provided under federal laws.

Ward has introduced a bill that would allow small businesses to take advantage of net-operating loss deductions similar to what is allowed under federal law. For instance, if an owner sells personal property to pay for business expenses, the owner can apply the business loss against the owner’s total tax liability.

“I have a bill that will allow small businesses to take advantage of what large businesses are able to do,” Ward said.

Ward is also in favor of a bill introduced by Sen. Scott Hutchinson that would increase the amount of deductions that small businesses can take under Section 179. The federal limit for Section 179 expenses is $500,000. For partnerships and S corporations, Pennsylvania law limits the amount to $25,000.

This is a common sense bill; lets hope common sense prevails. It is pro business and pro agriculture. I look for it to roll,” Ward said.

Farm Bureau members also discussed the need for high speed broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

“This is a big issue with the county commissioners association. It is also a safety issue and becomes an educational issue. It also becomes a health problem with tele-health,” said Blair County Commissioner Bruce Erb. “The problem is the expense is absolutely atrocious.”

“In rural America we are getting left behind on this internet issue,” Brenneman said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.