Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cattlemen quickly react

The president of the California Cattlemen's Association reacted quickly to the news that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger line-item vetoed funding for the Williamson Act, which provides property tax rates for farmers who agree to keep their land in agriculture. (See Wes' post below.)

From the CCA:

SACRAMENTO – July 28, 2009 – After weeks of budget talks at the State Capitol and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signing of the 2009-2010 Budget today, CCA President Tom Talbot, DVM, a Bishop, Calif., beef producer, made the following statement regarding the Governor’s last minute line item veto of Williamson Act Subvention Funding.

“The California Cattlemen’s Association is extremely disappointed in the Governor’s unilateral decision to cut Williamson Act Subvention Funding, which is vital to farmers, ranchers and rural communities throughout the state. Retention of the Williamson Act was supported by legislators of both parties in the Senate and Assembly and it is unfortunate that the Governor’s decision today will put family ranches and farms in jeopardy.

In this difficult budget year, CCA and other agriculture organizations have worked hard to maintain Williamson Act Subvention Funding both for those who produce food in this state and for California’s public, who enjoys open space and natural resources provided by rangeland. The Williamson Act is the state’s most broadly-supported conservation program, protecting millions of acres of open space at a bargain rate to state government. Additionally, during these tough economic times, the Williamson Act is a critical component of helping sustain California’s number one economic driver – agriculture.”

In the most recent issue of Capital Press, I wrote about a Farm Bureau expert who said the Williamson Act will be a political football for as long as legislative Democrats and the governor need Republican votes to pass the state budget.

I can think of one way the Farm Bureau and CCA can (theoretically) make that stop. Put an initiative on the ballot.

I say theoretically, because that's what cities and counties thought, too.

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