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Rep. Pingree warns tax reform could hurt local farmers

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree held a round table in Portland Monday morning, with local stakeholders, including Bob Wellington of "Agri-Mark," dairy cooperative. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) – On Capitol Hill, lawmakers could vote on tax reform this week, but one Maine Democrat warns, one plan could hurt local farmers.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree held a round table in Portland Monday morning, with local stakeholders, including Bob Wellington of "Agri-Mark," dairy cooperative.

He says the Senate GOP plan will eliminate the section "199" deduction for dairy and other farm cooperatives.

Republicans have proposed eliminating it, as part of efforts to streamline the tax code, but, according to the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, that deduction is valued at $1 billion per year, and that getting rid of it could raise taxes by 5 to 17 percent for farms.

“At the end of the day, farmers are going to lose, and it's a terrible place for that loss to occur both in our farming community and also in our rural communities where we're desperate for those jobs," Wellington said.

Congresswoman Pingree claims the plan will also give the middle class a tax increase, averaging around $2,000.

However, the Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, says most middle-class Americans will pay lower taxes under the GOP plans moving through Congress.

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