San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Farmer bill moves forward

Vanessa I. Garnica | Special to The Tico Times

A bill to lower property taxes for farmers moved through the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, garnering enough support to receive priority discussion Thursday.

Bill 18,070 would grant agricultural producers an 80 percent exemption on property taxes for their agricultural lands. Last week, more than 15,000 farmers from all corners of the country marched in the nation’s capital to protest a tax hike that sector representatives said is drowning them in debt.

Several legislators showed their support for the bill by voting in favor of Article 177, which granted Bill 18,070 priority over other bills to be discussed later this week.

“The bill will not be sent to a commission, but will be discussed on the floor [on Thursday], and we consider that good progress,” said Guido Vargas, president of UPA Nacional, an organization of small- and medium-sized producers  Wednesday afternoon.

Among lawmakers supporting the bill are members of the National Liberation Party and the Broad Front Party. Others said the bill needs work.

“The bill that has been proposed has a lot of defects,” Luis Fishman, from the Social Christian Unity Party, said Tuesday. “But we’re going to continue to back the idea of supporting small and medium-sized producers.”

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