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Changes needed in rate for state estate tax

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As someone who has dedicated my life’s work to farming my land, I have experienced many things that I can’t plan for, Mother Nature being the biggest among them.

Amid the challenges, my family has operated Eastman Dairy Farm since 1961 in Mannsville, spending that time growing a business too that will hopefully be around for generations of my family to come.

That is why it is important to take advantage of the things we can plan for now, like the future of our family farm.

We have begun working on a plan to transition the farm from my parents to me and my brothers. The problem is that the majority of their assets is land.

The value of land is still high. If there is one thing that I lose sleep over, it is estate taxes. I don’t know what my brothers and I are going to have to do when my parents die.

The amount of taxes we would have to pay just to continue operating the business is huge. We are not a large business.

We rely on Mother Nature to give us a crop. Where is the logic in having someone work their whole lives building a business for their family, only to have their family forced to sell off a portion of the farm just to stay in business?

We need a larger exemption for the state estate tax and a change to the tax rate structure, like the one proposed in this year’s state budget. I would like to ask our state representatives to support these state estate tax changes.

I love where I live and what I do for a living. Please give a young farmer some rest at night knowing he will have a future for his family farm.

Roger Eastman

Mannsville

The writer is president of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau.

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