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AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION PRESIDENT ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING PRESIDENT CLINTON'S ECONOMIC PACKAGE

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Farm Bureau Federation President Dean Kleckner issued the following statement regarding President Clinton's economic package:
 We applaud President Clinton for raising the issue of deficit reduction. We want to work with him toward his stated goal of developing a leaner, more efficient federal government. We are also encouraged by his call for a prompt conclusion to the GATT and NAFTA trade talks.
 However, America's farmers and ranchers are disappointed that President Clinton's proposal relies so heavily on tax increases rather than spending cuts to reduce the deficit. It is a false premise. As the 1990 budget summit agreement demonstrated, it is impossible to transform increased tax revenues into actual deficit reduction. Without the means to enforce spending discipline, taxpayers who will be emptying their wallets will be making an empty gesture. We are also concerned that the president's proposed spending cuts are not specific, nor are they sufficient to solve the problem.
 The energy tax proposed by the president is particularly unfair. It will impose a substantial burden on agriculture, both in direct and indirect costs. The farm recovery of the late 1980s was greatly helped by stable or declining costs for fuel, fertilizers and pesticides. The energy tax proposed by the president could mean as much as $600 million in added costs for our nation's farmers and ranchers.
 President Clinton has targeted several areas in agriculture for budget cuts and revenue increases. Some of the proposals will create hardships for individual producers. Since 1982, agriculture has been a prominent part of every deficit-reduction package. Agriculture has taken its fair share of cuts, while many other areas of federal spending have gone untouched. It's time for budget cuts to be spread evenly throughout all areas of federal spending, including entitlements.
 We are disappointed that the president's package didn't specifically include a broad-based capital gains tax cut. A cut in the capital gains tax is still a top priority for farmers and ranchers. At the very least, such gains should be indexed to prevent inflation from eroding the value of assets such as land -- which represents farmers' primary asset. We are very concerned by this omission in the president's plan.
 -0- 2/18/93
 /CONTACT: Don Lipton, 202-484-3624, or Jack King, 312-399-5754, both of the American Farm Bureau Federation/


CO: American Farm Bureau Federation ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: EXE

IH -- DC027 -- 7851 02/18/93 11:28 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1993
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