INDIANAPOLIS – After claiming that timber deserved parity with soybeans as justification for writing legislation giving himself new tax breaks for his timberland, Rep. Braun has yet to make clear if he believes timber growers deserve subsidies as well in response to soybean farmers who are receiving new payments for the new tariffs whose impact he feels is “overdramatized.”
In April, Rep. Braun, one of the biggest timber land owners in the state, was exposed for writing self-dealing legislation during his time at the Statehouse to lower taxes on the timber industry. He told the Indy Star at the time that his actual motive for lowering taxes on timber was so that timber growers could be on “equal footing” with soybean farmers.
Despite Rep. Braun’s best efforts, however, soybean farmers are once again on what he might perceive to be unequal footing. This week, the Department of Treasury began distributing its first round of subsidies to soybean farmers harmed by the by recent tariffs that have caused crop prices to plunge below the cost of production. Rep. Braun has brushed off concerns about the tariffs, calling farmers’ reactions to them “overdramatized” and telling the farmers to accept “short-term pain.” Before the $12 billion in payments were announced, Rep. Braun initially made clear he did not believe corn and soybean farmers deserved subsidies, flipping his position only when the Department of Treasury announced the payments.
As a member of the Statehouse, Rep. Braun was quick to write legislation because he felt soybeans had an unfair advantage over the timber interests from which he benefitted. Now that soybean farmers are getting paid for harm from the tariffs instead of coping with “short-term pain,” as Rep. Braun believes they should, it would seem likely he feels the footing between soybeans and timber is once again unequal. Therefore, it would be no surprise if he sought payments for his own timber farms in an attempt to once again level the playing field.
“Hoosiers have never been able to trust Rep. Braun to do the right thing unless it benefits himself. That’s why he has no problem writing legislation to cut taxes on his own timberland while claiming he’s getting a bad break, but calls the reaction from farmers losing farms because of the tariffs ‘overdramatized,’” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Now that suffering soybean farmers are set to receive billions of dollars in subsidy money, does Rep. Braun think his own timber investments deserve their own subsidies as well?”