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Ohio lawmaker discusses farm bill, death tax during town hall meeting
By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
Ohio Correspondent

Morgan Township, Ohio— U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) recently hosted a series of Town Hall Meetings throughout his district. Before a meeting in Morgan Township, Chabot talked about a few concerns.

“We expect the farm bill to come up for reauthorization next year,” Chabot said. “We’re very early in the process at this time, so it’s difficult to know what sort of changes or what sort of policies may ultimately be in the bill.

“I can say overall I think it’s important that we support especially family farms in this country, and one of the ways that we can do that is by getting rid of the death tax which hits small businesses and family farms,” he said. “I’m a strong supporter of getting rid of it altogether.”

One of the principle challenges facing farmers in this country now-a–days is high fuel costs, Chabot said. It’s critical that the United States become less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

Chabot has voted for drilling in a limited portion - 2,000 acres - of the Alaskan wilderness. He has supported legislation to search for energy on the Outer Continental shelf.

“And I think it’s critical that we move forward on building refineries in this country,” Chabot said. “We haven’t built a new one in 30 years, 1976 was the last one, because of too stringent environmental policies on oil refineries.”

Chabot said he is a strong supporter of ethanol and, while it is not the total solution, it is one of the keys to being less dependent on foreign oil.

The congressman has been a consistent supporter of tort reform and that would help farmers, he said.

“The higher cost of equipment, because of frivolous lawsuits filed against manufacturers, is a reflection of that out-of-control lawsuit system that we have, making it very easy for people to sue and get punitive damages,” Chabot said.

Concerning illegal immigration, he said, “I support the House position which says that we need to secure our borders first and then we need to have a national consensus on what to do with the 12 million people that are here illegally.

“I think it would be wrong to say that, just as part of the process, they can become citizens,” Chabot said. “They cut in line in front of a lot of folks who were trying to do it the right way. I don’t think they should be rewarded for breaking the law.”

Finally, Chabot spoke about the war issue. Whatever a person’s view on whether this country should or should not have gone into Iraq, he said, it is essential that we win.

We must step up the effort of training the Iraqis to be able to provide for their own security so they’re less reliant upon our troops, he said. If a mistake was made in the war effort, it’s that there wasn’t more effort put in earlier to train Iraqis.

“I’m very much for pushing the Iraqis along at a faster pace, training them to provide for their own security so they’re not so reliant upon our folks so we can get out of there,” he said.

“I am not one who believes we ought to be in there forever,” Chabot said. “I’d like to get the job done and get our troops home but I think to just pull out immediately would lead to chaos in Iraq and the insurgents and the terrorists probably winning and that could spread throughout the Middle East.”

This farm news was published in the Sept. 6, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

9/6/2006