Bill Addresses Estate Tax Onus for Farmers

Illinois Farm Bureau

Members of the Illinois General Assembly joined the Illinois Farm Bureau recently announced introduction of the Family Farm Preservation Act – a measure being spearheaded by state Sen. Dave Koehler and state Rep. Sharon Chung.

Senate Bill 2921 is a bipartisan effort designed to protect farm families and their land by updating the Illinois Estate Tax code to include protections in regards to inflation.

Legislators and stakeholders expressed the need for this legislation and the opportunities it would give farmers and their families who provide food across the state. Chung is championing an identical bill in the Illinois House, House Bill 4600.

“This measure is designed to protect farmers and their families by ensuring they can afford to keep their land,” said Koehler, D-Peoria.

“In many instances, families have to sell their land after the loss of a loved one simply because it’s too expensive. This will give families the opportunity to continue passing down their farm from generation to generation.”

“The Family Farm Preservation Act is a crucial step forward in protecting the backbone of our communities – our local farmers,” said state Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex.

“With this, we are ensuring that these hardworking individuals and families can continue their legacy without the burden of excessive taxation, leaving a thriving agricultural community for generations to come.”

“Our state’s economy rests firmly upon the bedrock of our agricultural industry. Yet, this foundation faces a perpetual threat from our state’s estate tax system,” said state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris.

“Far too often, small-to-mid-sized family farms are forced to sell land that has been in their family for generations just to merely settle their estate taxes. Through this bipartisan proposal, we can help ensure that more family farms remain within their families.”

Mark Schneidewind, Will County Farm Bureau manager, was glad to see the bill introduced.

“Our members have supported changes in the state’s process for family-owned farms and have tried to develop a better way of passing on the family farm to avoid having to sell part of the farm to pay inheritance taxes and at the same time does not create a burden on the state’s budget,” he said.

“We have worked closely with both sides of the aisle for several years and met again with eight legislators from Will County to discuss this again on January 22. These bills were discussed with 11 farmers from Will County in the room, and we were in support and thank our local legislators for listening and learning how devastating the current rules were to family farms.

“The current law fell extremely short forcing families to have to liquidate part of the farm to pay these taxes and still have something left to farm and keep the kids on the farm. These bill will assist more in helping to save the family farms in Illinois and allow them to be passed on to the family.

“We are proud of the family-owned farms in Illinois; 96 percent of our farms here are family owned.”

“Hardworking farmers in our community and all across Illinois are facing enormous economic challenges right now and it is not the time to add to that with overbearing taxes,” said Chung, D – Bloomington. “I am glad to work with Senator Koehler to fight for the Farm Preservation Act and help relieve the financial burdens on Illinois farmers, people who do so much for this state.”

“The estate tax has devastated family farms for decades as these farms are often sold to pay the inheritance tax,” said state Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville.

“Improving estate tax exemptions for farmers will help save family farms when the farm is passed down to each generation. Family farms treat their farmland like family as it helps provide for their family and produces the crops that help feed the world. Our country has the lowest food costs in the world, thanks to family farms.”

“Passing on the family farm is not just about continuing the business, it’s about preserving family heritage and a way of life,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Brian Duncan.

“Yet the current Illinois estate tax often forces families to break up the farm by selling land, livestock or even equipment every time the business passes on to the next generation. A death of a loved one should not be a death sentence for the family farm.

“IFB thanks Sen. Dave Koehler and Rep. Sharon Chung for introducing the Family Farm Preservation Act and applauds the bipartisan effort of our state legislators to ensure Illinois’ family farms can continue providing food, fuel and fiber without fear of losing the business when a family member dies.”

The Family Farm Preservation Act awaits discussion in the spring legislative session.

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