October 26, 2021

Cortez Masto Leads Senate Effort to Protect Family Farms and Ranches From Unfair Tax Hikes

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) is leading efforts in the Senate to ensure that the historic middle-class tax relief delivered in the budget reconciliation legislation does not include provisions that will unfairly burden Nevada’s family farms and ranches. This week, she sent a letter to Senate leadership calling on Congress to eliminate changes to the tax code that would harm Nevada’s 4,137 farms and ranches, many of which are multi-generational operations. She also introduced the Preserving Family Farms Act to ease the burden of the estate tax on small farming and ranching operations.

“Family-owned farms and ranches are the backbone of rural communities in Nevada and across the country, and we need to make sure to protect this essential part of our economy and our culture,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The reconciliation bill is about delivering tax cuts to all middle-class families, but we must not do that and then impose new burdens on family farms, ranches, small businesses, and the many workers and communities they support. I have always stood up for rural Nevadans and our family farms, and I will make sure that they are not unfairly impacted by this bill or any legislation that passes the Senate.”

The Preserving Family Farms Act would help family-owned farms continue operations after a loved one has passed by easing the burden of the estate tax. The bill would modernize the special use valuation provision of the estate tax by increasing the amount of farmland that can be valued for farming operations rather than for development. This would protect family-owned farmland by assessing estate taxes on the actual value of their businesses that they, in many cases, have spent decades cultivating. 

The full text of the letter Cortez Masto sent to Senate leadership can be found here.

The bill text can be found here

Throughout negotiations on the Senate’s budget plan, Cortez Masto has led opposition to tax provisions that would eliminate the stepped-up basis and harm family farms and ranches, announcing in June that she wouldn’t support a package that included it. During the beginning of the formal reconciliation process in August, she cosponsored an amendment to ensure family farms, ranches, and small businesses were protected from unfair tax hikes.