Senator Hollingsworth announces freeze relief legislation
Last updated 2/8/2007 at Noon
TEMECULA- Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta) announced important legislation today at the Calavo Packing House that would provide much needed freeze relief for growers and farmers throughout the state.
Hollingsworth, joined by San Diego and Riverside county citrus and avocado growers, announced the introduction of two bills, SB 148 and SB 149, which would provide property and sales tax relief to farmers affected by the freeze.
SB 148 will provide a property tax exemption for severely damaged fruit and nut trees, as well as any grapevines damaged in the freeze. Upon passage of the measure, growers would be able to qualify for a property tax exemption for trees damaged by the cold for the succeeding four years.
The second bill, SB 149, provides a sales tax exemption for fuels and materials farmers used to deal with the cold snap. The measure will allow a sales tax exemption for freeze-affected agricultural businesses using natural gas, gasoline and other materials and fuels needed to warm groves, orchards and greenhouses.
The senator said he hopes to “fast track” the measures, which have been supported by the legislature in crop freezes in years past.
“The growers in San Diego and Riverside counties that I represent, as well as farmers in more than 20 other counties around the state have suffered tremendous damage from this freeze,” Hollingsworth said. “Their losses will be in the millions and could last for years.”
Additionally, Hollingsworth is co-authoring SB 114, which would allow farmers to deduct losses against their prior year’s income, and to carry operating losses forward for five years. The measure would also allow for reassessment of property damaged by the freeze, while providing a one-year backfill to local government for the loss of property tax revenue.
“We’re talking about tax relief,” Hollingsworth said at the news conference. “I think it’s only fitting that the government tighten its belt to help the farmers.”