Legislation extending the Section 179 tax break for small-business capital purchases passed Congress and was signed by President Barack Obama Friday.
Area farming officials, especially farm equipment dealers, were eying the legislation nervously prior to its passage. The tax bill allows farmers and small businesses to immediately write off up to $500,000 in capital assets purchases (including farm equipment) instead of depreciating it over time.
Section 179 tax deductions are good on new and used equipment, which must be financed/purchased by the end of the day on Dec. 31, 2014.
For more go to the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal…
The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), created by the General Assembly in 2010 to give the legislature a separate tool for State Budget analysis, released a report that said PA is in for hard times (http://www.ifo.state.pa.us/Releases.cfm).
IFO said that the fiscal year State Budget beginning July 1, 2015 could not utilize the $619 million one-time devices and $572 in non-recurring revenues used by the Corbett Administration to balance this year’s budget and so will be $1.85 billion in the red for FY 2015-16.
Part of that analysis included an IFO prediction that PA would have $171 million less than expected this fiscal year — and that figure may be questioned given better than estimated revenue numbers reported for October and November — $109 million more than anticipated for this fiscal year.
IFO, the Corbett Administration and the incoming Wolf Administration agree that the Commonwealth will be challenged but there is significant disagreement as to the causes and obviously whether or not the Corbett Administration got Pennsylvania out of a Rendell fiscal hole or into a new one.
The Governor’s Budget Office’s December 3 briefing recognized the fiscal shortfall. Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said that “we’ve faced these sorts of deficits every year in this administration” and they are due to mandated costs exceeding revenues. For the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, Zogby said that there would be spending increases in debt service (interest), corrections, pensions, and in the Department of Human Services (formerly Department of Public Welfare).
Governor-elect Wolf’s transition team issued a statement December 2 which said:
- The FY 2014-15 Budget was built on one-time revenue sources
- Prediction: PA will be cash-flow negative from January-March 2015.
- The state has maxed its line of credit
- PA is 50th in the nation in job creation.
On December 4, one day before the original deadline, USDA announced that the application deadline for the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) will be extended until December 19, 2014. Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, the program protects participating dairy producers when the margin -difference between price of milk and feed costs – falls below the level of protection selected by the applicant. USDA also urged agricultural producers to utilize an Internet resource, www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, to calculate the best levels of coverage applicable to their dairy operation. PA Secretary of Agriculture George Grieg noted that producers should see that the cost is only a $100 administrative fee in order to have a $4 margin that covers 90% of the farm’s annual production. In addition to the Farm Services Agency (www.fsa.usda.gov ), PDA‘s risk management specialist, Jordan Stasyszyn may be reached at 717/705-9511 or email@example.com.
In the December 6 PA Bulletin, the PA Department of Agriculture published details regarding funding for PA agricultural organizations which conduct agricultural fairs and organizations that contribute to the development of agriculture and agribusinesses as well as eligible agriculture youth groups. Among those included are horse racing organizations, 4-H, and FFA county organizations. A link to the Notice follows:
The 2015 Farm Show tentative schedule has been posted on the Farm Show’s web site, http://www.farmshow.state.pa.us/page/show.aspx. Running January 10-17, the Farm Show expects record numbers of exhibits, programs, and attendees. In addition, the Food Court and Equine Arena will be open from 12-9:00 p.m. on Friday January 9. The PA Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the United States and has 13,000 agricultural exhibits and over 300 commercial vendors.
On December 5, USDA announced that it was promoting the United Nations’ designation of 2015 as the International Year of Soils, an effort to promote the importance of soils in everyday life.
According to the media release, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization spearheaded the international effort because the “year of awareness aims to increase understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions.” Details: www.nrcs.usda.gov/.
There may be some state specific observances of the International Year of Soils organized by the PA Association of Professional Soil Scientists, details pending.
The PDA announced that it had adopted the latest automobile fuel standards for automotive spark ignition engines based on the latest standards of the American Society for Testing and materials as determined by the US Federal Trade Commission. Details: PDA Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards 717/787-9089.
The Center for Dairy Excellence is offering $2,000 scholarships to seven students to participate in on-farm internships for 10-12 weeks. Applications are due by January 15, 2015. Details: Emily Yeiser 717/346-0849 or firstname.lastname@example.org