State Sen. Catharine M. Young told Cattaraugus County Farm Bureau members Friday she will join them in opposing the federal initiative to add a 3 cent tax per hundredweight of milk.
"That's just another tax on top of a tax," Young, R-Olean, said at the organization's annual policy luncheon at Great Valley United Methodist Church on Route 219.
Young expressed concerns about the tax and the farm subsidy reductions that are proposed in President Bush's 2007 budget, a move that is estimated to generate $578 million in new revenue over the next decade.
In a joint announcement Friday, she and New York Farm Bureau president and dairy farmer John Lincoln asked federal lawmakers to defeat the proposal.
The tax could cost average-sized dairy farms about $720 yearly, adding to the farmer's burden of rising costs for fuel, health insurance and worker's compensation, among other items, she said.
Young, who grew up on a farm, credited Cattaraugus County's farmers for her victory last spring in a special election to replace the late Patricia McGee, who was viewed as a champion of agriculture issues by her home district Farm Bureau.
Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, 146th District, added his support to Young's call for biofuels production projects, which could be a new source of income for farmers.
Young said she is trying to advance some development possibilities to aid her district's agricultural industry, including an upgrade of Alfred State University's agriculture facilities and improvements to a vineyard laboratory in Fredonia.
These initiatives fall in line with some of the county Farm Bureau's priority list of policy and legislative reform issues announced at the meeting.
Margie Andrus, president of the Cattaraugus County Farm Bureau, said the U.S. farming industry is at a disadvantage in the international market because other countries fully subsidize farmers, while the pricing structures of international marketing of U.S. farm goods are so complicated.
"The World Trade Organization is trying to level the playing field -- it's not fair trade," she said.