Farmers in Kansas had a good thing going even before Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature freed them from paying state income taxes.
▪ The state ranked 6th among the 50 states in receiving crop subsidies between 2005 and 2012, according to a database kept by the Environmental Working Group.
▪ Kansas farmers receive lucrative taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance to guard against losses.
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▪ Property taxes on farmland are so low that developers who have no intention of ever sowing a single seed are declaring vacant property as such.
▪ Starting in 2013, farms became one of the categories of businesses to become exempt from state income taxes.
Yes, you read that right. While farm laborers may pay Kansas income taxes, farmers themselves pay no taxes on their net income.
The perk, which is shared by owners of businesses organized as sole proprietorships, limited liability corporations and S-corporations, is a factor in the $1 billion state budget gap that is anticipated through 2016.
We bring this up now because of some puzzling remarks by U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in an oped published in The Kansas City Star this week. Among other accusations aimed at President Barack Obama and his administration, the Republican senator alleged that “our rural communities have been targeted rather than supported.”
“You can trust that I will bring dignity, common sense and respect back to farm country,” Roberts wrote.
Far be it from us to begrudge the newly re-elected senator a victory lap as he embarks on a fourth term. But if anybody gets their fair share of respect in Kansas, it’s farmers.