By Cory Gardner
State Representative, District 63
There’s hogwash and poppycock. And then there’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most people agree that we should be responsible stewards of the environment. But the EPA’s new idea to tax Bessie the Cow takes home the grand prize for reaching new heights of government absurdity.
If you think you’ve seen it all from government, ruminate on this. Our friends in Washington, D.C. are actually considering a new gas tax. A literal tax on gas. And no, I’m not talking about something you pay at the gas station. More precisely, the brain-trust environmentalists in our nation’s capital want to tax the emissions from the business end of a cow. Only it’s our bottom-line that gets chafed.
The belching, burping, gas-pass tax first came to light, according to news reports, through a recently released EPA study, opening the door to the flatulent tax. In fact, the American Farm Bureau Federation said, based on federal agriculture department figures, the tax would require farms or ranchers with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog.
Udder insanity if you ask me. Stock up on Maalox – it’ll soon be a barnyard staple.
Unfortunately, government’s bad idea trough is pretty full. Last year, a Front Range legislator proposed legislation that would tax tractors at the hefty price of $25 per horsepower. Of course, the bill’s supporters said it would only tax “old” tractors. But by old they meant “something that was built prior to the year 2000.” I don’t know about you, but an 8-year-old tractor isn’t considered old where I come from! It’s in its prime – even if it needs a little primer.
Our cows can’t pass gas and our tractor’s gas is causing a tax. Taxes here, taxes there, taxes everywhere. There is something sadly comical about a government that governs like Dr. Seuss – if only it didn’t hurt so much.
What’s next? Goose a chicken and pass a tax? What about goats and horses, rabbits and sheep? Will barn cats be the subject of a feline fine? It should come as no surprise that the EPA is trying to backpedal on the livestock tax. The Associated Press quoted the EPA’s “air and radiation” division spokesman as stating that there has been an oversimplification of the EPA’s document “to the point of distortion.”
I suppose the EPA is correct to deride those of us who are suspicious of powerful bureaucracies and who distort well-intentioned government studies. After all, they’re simply looking out for our best interests, right?
It’s just another fine study brought to you by the makers of government bailouts and ballooning budgets.
State Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), a fifth generation Coloradan, is the House Minority Whip and serves on the Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee. He can be reached at email@example.com.