By David Strecker, SJFB President
October is my favorite time of the year. As a kid I was always anxious for my birthday cake and ice cream and then a boat load of candy at the end of the month. I still look forward to my cake and ice cream each year, however, it is getting harder and harder to keep the icing from melting.
But now I’m hoping for boat loads of a harvested crop. Despite troublesome prices and difficult markets I pray your harvest was successful. The smoke and heat sure made things challenging for the month of September
If there has been one positive of COVID-19, it is the fact that CDFA made several thousand N-95 masks available to our workers. Many operations were able to use those during the hazardous air days as well as protecting their workers from the virus. I would like to thank the staff for working with the county ag commissioner’s office in passing out these masks.
At the time of this article, San Joaquin County has moved from purple to red in the governor’s tiered system. I’m grateful we are moving in the right direction but we can all agree that this has been going on for long enough. I do hope you can all come by the office on Oct. 14 for our Drive Thru Annual Meeting. It’s sad we can’t all be together at once as it is long overdue for a Farm Bureau function. I’ve been joking a lot lately that New Years Eve this year is going to be one huge celebration. Everybody is ready for 2021!
Although we will all be looking forward to harvest being over and finally taking a long due break, our work for the year is not over. We will be publishing our endorsements in this paper as well as some future notices. Most importantly this election is we must all…..
VOTE NO ON PROP. 15!!!
Proponents of Prop. 15 are going to says the new tax revenue is going to go to the kids. It’s to help schools. It’s to bring the school facilities up to date. That sounds good, but they are looking for $11 billion a year.
The special interests behind Prop. 15 are the same people who said the roadways of California will all be fixed with the California Gas Tax. My tires and shocks in my truck certainly have something to say about that. My wallet, too!
Prop. 15 states that agriculture land is exempt. Sounds good to be a farmer or rancher then right? NO! It’s another wolf in sheep’s clothing. Prop. 15 only exempts agricultural land, not other agricultural property like fixtures and improvements. The proponents of Prop. 15 are lying when they say agriculture is exempt. We are not just open ground.
So what are fixtures and improvements? Some examples of “fixtures” include air compressors, ovens, walk-in refrigerators, and silos or tanks. Examples of ‘improvements” include mature fruit and nut trees, grape stakes and trellises, buildings, fences, dams, paved roads, modern irrigation systems and mature grapevines.
Bingo! This affects all of us. Prop. 15’s failure to exempt “fixtures and improvements” will increase some farmer’s property taxes up to 500% or more. Every farm and ranch is different, but it is clear that many many farmers will be forced to pay higher taxes under Prop. 15.
The people of California can’t handle this right now. Think of your favorite sandwich shop or maybe your hairdresser. If they are even still in business, what will they do when the owners of the strip mall they are in have to raise their rent to pay the higher taxes?
Prop. 15 has to be defeated! This is something that you can help with. COVID-19 has made it impossible to run a face-to-face campaign. But that cousin you have that lives in the Bay Area, call them let and them know the truth. Your sister or brother that lives in the Southern California, they need to hear this as well.
When we created the San Joaquin Farmers United PAC, it was for local, county campaigns. As soon it became apparent what Prop. 15 was, we created a temporary filing that allows us to campaign against a state proposition. We are currently creating this campaign to reach people locally with in our county as well as beyond. Stay tuned for radio ads coming soon. We are working on signs and literature for you to hand out.
Many of you have been very generous in donating to Farmers United and we thank you. If Prop. 15 passes, you will be facing yearly tax increases in the thousands of dollars. Anything you can give now to Farmers United may just save you those Thousands and Thousands of dollars in the future. To give to Farmers United, contact the office at (209) 931-4931 or follow us on Facebook at San Joaquin Farmers United PAC. Please join me in defeating Prop. 15 and VOTE NO!