By Brenda Fike

Ledger Managing Editor

The Farm Bill and Tax Reform Bill were topics discussed by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler during a legislative update Tuesday, sponsored by the Audrain County Farm Bureau.

Hartzler touched on the present Farm Bill which expires in the Fall of 2018. It took three years to get the Farm Bill passed.

The representative said her main focus is on crop insurance and to preserve that. Some want to change the income threshold on that, who can qualify, and change how much money people can get. "But I'm going to try and keep it the way it is now. It seems to be working really well," said the representative.

Eighty percent of the farm bill has nothing to do with farming. Eighty percent is nutrition and assistance food programs. She expects to see some changes to the nutrition part of the bill to make sure there is no fraud and to make sure money goes to people who are hungry and that it is temporary and not a permanent situation.

As farm assisted commodities go, they are working pretty good, but there may be some tweaking there. "Cotton and dairy are the are the two having trouble. I expect you are going to see quite a few changes in those areas," Hartzler stated.

She stated she is going to try to figure out a way to encourage rural broadband. "There is a section of the Farm Bill that allows money to go to rural broadband." She believes this will help rural businesses.

Hartzler also shared information on the Tax Reform Bill.

She said there are several goals with the Bill.

The first is to simplify the deductions.

Secondly it will allow people to keep more of their money.

The third goal is to create jobs. "To make America competitive again in the world. We now have the highest corporate tax rate in the world at 35 percent," she said.

The bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate. Hartzler said the Senate has added a repeal of the mandate that says every individual has to buy health insurance and every busy has to offer it. She said it would give people a choice. She said it is important to get this done for the American people. She said there hasn't been as much disagreement as on the Healthcare Bill. She said she is encouraged it will get done.

Points of interest on the Tax Bill includes lower rates for individuals and families; significantly increase the standard deduction, eliminate special-interest deduction, repeal the death tax, reduce the tax rate, lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, preserve the home mortgage interest deduction, and prevent American jobs, headquarters, and research from moving overseas.