There is nothing like a Monday drive to Bismarck through alternating whiteouts to make one appreciate being back in the Capitol. These last two days for your legislative crew has centered around the farm home exemption bills which, having passed the Senate, were up for their House hearing Wednesday in Finance and Tax committee.
There are two bills appearing back to back in that hearing which concern the exemption. 2278 would force each county to have farmers fill out the application for exemption while also holding that financial information confidential. 2360 is the bill that would change the exemption test to 66% of gross income – the IRS definition of a farmer. I will let you know what the committee thinks asap.
2139 is the snagging and clearing bill that was unopposed in last week’s hearing but I am leery and working it. On Tuesday, I also testified in favor of 2039 which would set up workforce scholarships. I told the committee that 30 years ago we would have supported the bill for welders, machinists and mechanics. While that need is still there, now we add programs for computer and tech savvy folks who can handle the many requirements of modern farming and machinery. No one opposed, but it has a $10 million price tag.