The Senate agreed to preserve the critical step-up in basis tax treatment of farms and ranches, as part its $3.5 trillion dollar budget blueprint that passed with only Democratic votes. South Dakota Republican John Thune prevailed on a 99 to nothing vote on his amendment to keep stepped-up basis and prevent a Biden Administration-proposed capital gains tax at death. Thune strongly opposed a competing Democratic amendment he compared to the administration proposal, saying, “The administration suggested it might include arbitrary exemptions to this ill-advised idea, which I think is what the Cortez-Masto amendment speaks to, these so-called protections for family-owned operations, would not provide sustained relief, and, in practice, would be incredibly difficult to implement, he reason they didn’t do it in the 1970s—we have never taxed unrealized gains in this country.”
The competing rider by Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto was rejected 49-50, while a different change by Louisiana Republican John Kennedy to keep an exclusion for like-kind farmland exchanges prevailed by voice-vote. Separately, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced $167 million dollars for high-speed broadband deployment in underserved rural areas in 12 states, stating, “Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia, farmers need this technology to fully embrace precision agriculture, to lower input costs and increase productivity and profit on their farms. They also need it to make sure they have access to real-time market information.”
The latest round of broadband investments adds to 163 projects under USDA’s ReConnect Program, with another round to follow.