New Mexico’s school funding formula has long been considered one of the most equalized in the nation. A state will tend to have more equalized funding when several conditions apply: a) the state takes on a larger share of the funding (as opposed to when individual school districts raise the majority of funds through property taxes); b) states target their funding to poorer districts, and; c) states take into account regional differences in the cost of education (for instance, it is more expensive to educate a child in New York City than in Plattsburgh.) Continue reading
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Connecticut’s legislature authorized an IDA program in June 2000, through Public Act 00-192. The state Department of Labor manages a reserve fund of both state funds and private sector contributions, and certifies publicly and privately financed programs. Corporations that contribute to the state fund receive tax credits from the state. Donations to IDAs operated by non-profits are tax deductible. Community organizations administer the programs. Financial institutions provide accounts with no minimum balance or monthly fees, at least a market rate of interest, and assistance with the financial education aspects of the programs. Continue reading
Historically, Minnesota led the way to protect contract growers, setting guidelines on contract cancellation, requiring a mediation clause in contracts between growers and processors, and assigning parent company responsibility for contracts of subsidiaries. There is still a dearth of legislation and case law in this area, however, and new legislation is still focused on the basics: contract readability and a 3 day right to review (MN), contract leins to give producers the first priority to be paid (IA), and banning confidentiality on production contracts (IA). Continue reading
Bills on parent company liability failed in Iowa and South Dakota ( SD 1997 S.B 202, vetoed by governor in 1997 see SD Contractor liability). Minnesota passed a law in 1990 (see link to Statute below) that assigns liability to the corporation that owns the processor for any unpaid debts due to growers. Continue reading
Kentucky’s Division of Water recently finalized regulations on concentrated animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) which include integrator liability. The KY law is the first of its kind in the country. Under the regulations, integrators must apply for a state permit (KPDES) even if they own animals kept by a farmer under contract. If the permit is violated, it is the integrators who are liable for consequences. The regulations were to go into effect August 24, 2000, but last June the Farm Bureau and other groups challenged the rule in court by arguing that it was pre-empted by another Kentucky law that precludes the state from passing legislation stricter than federal standards. They were granted a temporary restraining order specifically on the integrator liability provision. Continue reading
RELATING TO PRACTICES INVOLVING THE MARKETING OF LIVESTOCK CONCERNING PACKERS, BY PROVIDING FOR THE REGULATION OF CERTAIN PURCHASE INFORMATION AND CONTRACTING, AND PROVIDING PENALTIES AND EFFECTIVE DATES. Continue reading
The price discrimination provision of SB 95 was overturned in a July 1999 case brought by the American Meat Institute (AMI), an industry trade group. The law was interpreted as extending uniform pricing to other states "for livestock purchased for slaughter in this state," thereby interfering with interstate commerce." The price disclosure/reporting provision remains in effect, harmonized with the national price reporting legislation passed in 1999. Continue reading
A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to livestock; to adopt the Competitive Livestock Markets Act; and to declare an emergency.
Prior to 1999, Georgia levied ad valorem taxes for some agricultural commodities, such as fruit and nut trees and livestock. Legislation passed in 1998 relieved small scale farmers of this additional burden. For other crops, such as ornamental trees and shrubs, the possibility of ad valorem taxation was eliminated.
The legislation is noteworthy not because of the tax impact- farmers will save about $ 2.5 million a year, or an average of less than $20,000 per Georgia county- but because it targets those tax cuts to a well defined "family farm" scale agriculture.
Colleges and Universities, especially the nation’s land grant universities are a perfect laboratory for policies that support locally-grown and/or organic food supplies. The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems completed a survey of schools in 1998 and identified a handful that had policies in place that supplied their food service departments with significant quantities of locally grown and/or organic food. Continue reading