The Jan. 31 article “State’s beekeepers abuzz about possible tax break,” regards Senate Bill 6402, which, for tax purposes, will define honeybee products and services as an agricultural product. Given the circumstances, this bill is our best option. While promoting in-state business, the elimination of the tax on beekeepers will maintain balanced state revenue without costing much to implement.
By removing the business-and-occupation tax on Washington beekeepers, there will be more incentive for farmers to contract beekeepers in state. More prosperous local beekeepers mean more in-state purchases of other taxable items and the loss of revenue will be negligible because the state already does not collect taxes from beekeepers that are hired from out-of-state.
Although this legislation will give a boost to all beekeepers in Washington, small-scale operations in particular will benefit from the reduced competition. As a prospective farmer, I know that one of the greatest obstacles to starting a farm is policy that conflicts with normal farm operations. Pollination is an integral part of food production, so classifying it as such will set a precedent for clear legislation in the future.
We need to get our policy on the level of the rest of the country. I urge you to request that your senator support this bill. Our state’s revenue is vital to our quality of life, but not at the expense of our food security.