Florida Citrus Mutual has applauded the House Ways and Means Committee for passing a measure that will provide growers with an incentive to plant more trees and bolster the ailing Florida citrus industry.
Committee member US Rep Vern Buchanan is the primary sponsor of the bill called The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus instead of the standard 14-year depreciation period under the current IRS rules - a tweak designed to increase slumping production.
"The strong committee vote is a clear message: we must do all we can to protect American jobs," Buchanan said. "We are one step closer to protecting the livelihoods of the 62,000 hardworking Floridians who form the backbone of the Sunshine State's iconic citrus industry."
Michael Sparks, executive vice-president and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, added: "The approval by the Ways and Means Committee is a huge first step in getting the bill passed by both the House and the Senate. We offer a sincere thank you to congressman Buchanan and chairman Brady as well as the other sponsors for their support of this important bill. It is truly a bipartisan effort and reflects the fact that our elected officials understand citrus' vital economic role.
"By some estimates our industry needs to put more than 20m trees in the ground over the next ten years to support existing infrastructure and get our production back to where it was before HLB," Sparks added. "This legislation will help spur the desperately needed plantings. It's a game changer."