If you’ve been dreaming of a new granite or other natural stone counter top, you better book that work now. Otherwise the price of the stone might be higher thanks to the farm bill pending in the US House of Representatives. What does a farm bill have to do with stones and rocks? Good question. You probably won’t like the answer.
The House Agriculture Committee, in its infinite wisdom, has actually approved an amendment to the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (H.R. 1947) to permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enforce an involuntary levy on businesses that quarry and fabricate granite, sandstone, slate, limestone, marble, travertine, and quartzite.
(BTW, although the acronym of the bill is FARRM, some 80 percent of the spending goes for food stamps.)
The rock tax is a major victory for a faction of the “natural stone” industry that’s intent on compelling fellow tradesmen to pay for standardized product promotion. You know, like “Rocks. It’s What’s for Building,” or “Got Rocks?” or “The Rocks of Our Lives.”
The Marble Institute of America (MIA) is a leader in the rock tax effort, which was launched in 2008. The folks there acknowledge the likelihood of “concern” among some in the industry about the tax, which in this case is a euphemism for “some business owners won’t like being forced by the government to pay for services that they previously obtained voluntarily.”
Under the current plan, the tax revenues would be managed by a new Natural Stone Research and Promotion Board overseen by the USDA.
Read the whole thing. The bill also contains a Christmas tree tax. I wonder what else is in it.