Representative Michael Meredith Files Three Bills in Effort to Strengthen Agricultural Economy in Kentucky, Support Local Fire Departments
Proposals deal with sales tax on purchase of drugs for treatment of farm animals, bees and products used in commercial operations, provide tax credits for firefighters
FRANKFORT, Ky. (January 9, 2015) – In his continued work as a advocate for agriculture and local government in Kentucky, Representative Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville (19th District) yesterday filed two bills dealing with sales tax on the purchase of drugs to treat farm animals, and also the sales and usage tax on commercial bee operations and the products used as part of that operation.
House Bill 157 would expand a waiver currently allowed under Kentucky law to exempt sales tax on the purchase of prescription and over the counter medications for the treatment of animals used for agricultural purposes. This includes beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, horses, poultry, swine, and buffalos. Rep. Meredith filed the bill again this session because of the growing impact such exemptions in neighboring states are having on Kentucky agribusiness.
“Tennessee has long provided a sales tax exemption on the purchase of drugs used to treat farm animals, and it places our farming community and veterinarians at a great disadvantage financially,” said Rep. Meredith. “In order for Kentucky’s agriculture industry to remain competitive, members of the General Assembly must recognize the disadvantages it faces. My bill is a step toward leveling the playing for Kentucky’s agriculture community.”
Rep. Meredith’s other proposal, House Bill 155, would amend Kentucky’s sales and use tax covered by KRS 139.480. This amendment would cover commercial bee operations and the products that are used for production purposes and would work to waive sales taxes on the sale, use, storage and consumption. Rep. Meredith’s bill defines commercial bee operations as the production of honey, wax, or pollination of crops for human consumption, and would cover items like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, medications, components and accessories for bee hives, beekeeping apparel, and related machinery under the sales and use tax law.
“Kentucky has seen tremendous growth in beekeeping operations in the last several years. With the appropriate legislation, the Commonwealth could become a recognized producer of apiary items,” added Rep. Meredith. “We already offer these same exemptions for many agricultural products and this is a common sense way for us to help beekeepers across the Commonwealth.”
Also filed by Rep. Meredith is a proposal to provide tax credits to local firefighters. House Bill 175 would allow any volunteer firefighter who is certified by the Commission on Fire Protection Personnel Standards and Education to be eligible for a refundable tax credit of $1,000 beginning on January 1, 2016. Eligibility for the tax credit would be based on certification and that the individual must be a certified volunteer firefighter for the entire taxable year.
“Several members of my family, including my father and brother, have served and protected their communities for many years as volunteer firefighters. Every day volunteer firefighters across Kentucky not only put themselves in harm’s way, but many of them do so without any thanks or financial reimbursement for their own expenditures,” said Rep. Meredith. “My proposal is one way we can express our gratitude to them, while at the same time provide them with a tax credit that can offset out-of-pockets costs they make during the year.”
Rep. Meredith filed House Bills 155, 157, and 175 for consideration during the 2015 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Photo Cut Line: Representative Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville, was sworn in to office by Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton during the first day of the 2015 Session of the General Assembly. Rep. Meredith was re-elected in November to a third term representing the 19th District comprised of Edmonson and part of Warren County. (Photo: LRC Public Information)