Adam Cassandra writes at FFC, “GOP Should be Making it Easier for People to Earn a Living.” Indeed.
Fauquier Free Citizen responds to Delegate Bobby Orrock’s concerns about the Boneta Bill. Is this man a Republican?
“The bill, while well intentioned, takes a broad brush approach to try to fix a real problem.”
The bill clarifies free market protections for farmers. Delegate Orrock and the Agricultural subcommittee struck constitutional protections for farmers and remedies for when counties violate the Right to Farm Act.
Mr. Orrock, why did you and other Ag subcommittee members oppose and kill the Boneta Bill’s constitutional protections for farmers and remedies for when counties violated the Right to Farm Act? What do you have against constitutional rights for farmers?
“The biggest issue is that the “Right to Farm” statute is intended to address what can be produced on a farm and was never meant to address how products could be sold or how or other uses of the property.”
Then that is a flaw of the Right to Farm Act. What good is the right to farm unless farmers can earn income free from fear of government bullying? Does Bobby Orrock believe that farming should be a hobby for the rich? Small farmers need to engage in commerce to pay the bills.
“The original bill would have left local gov’t almost no recourse to have some control over what goes on in their jurisdictions than to change or abolish zoning and/or repeal land use taxation.”
Respectfully, that is demagoguery, and is a gross exaggeration and mischaracterization. There would be no need to “abolish zoning,” and that is merely a threat used by the Virginia Association of Counties to scare people. The Boneta Bill’s protections of commerce will enable farmers to pay their mortgages and preserve their farm property, rather than forcing them to give up their farms through easements – and property in easements is exempt from taxation. Also, there is no need to repeal land use taxation. Farmers that engage in commerce will add more to the states’ tax coffers than farmers who receive tax and other government subsidies. Boneta Bill supporters are eager to engage in the debate about whether tax and other government subsidies for farmers should interfere with the rights of commerce.
Want proof that Bobby Orrock is wrong? Already all across Virginia and EVEN IN FAUQUIER COUNTY farms engage in multiple forms of commerce and retail sales – even selling items not produced at those farms. The wife of one Fauquier County supervisor runs a massage therapy business out of his farm, and sells oils from Europe. Fauquier’s Delegate Michael Webert and his wife run a livestock marketing company in addition to his farm, as he explained on This Week in Richmond.
Stop these shameful scare tactics, Mr. Orrock. The Boneta Bill will do none of the things you describe – except in the minds of power-hungry political bullies.
“It also was so broad as to allow, by right, any farm to engage in almost any retail activities as long as just over 1/2 of the revenue was from the sale of “farm goods” (none of which had to be produced on the farm).”
Mr. Orrock’s objections on camera included fear of farmers selling sodas, art and literature. Farmers should be able to sell Coca-Colas, bottled water, lemonade and Gatorade on hot days. Farmers should be free to sell the art produced by their spouses or themselves. The world’s most popular farmer, Joel Salatin, should be free to sell his best-selling books at his farm. Mr. Orrock, respectfully, you are trying to define down what self-sufficient farmers have been doing for centuries, and it seems that you want them to become reliant on the State.
In fact, Mr. Orrock, small farms already sell these items all across Virginia without jeopardizing zoning or land use taxation. The Boneta Bill simply prohibits counties from singling out individual farmers for unfair and unlawful charges.
“The Comm. and now the House agree that the issue is real and needs to be addressed, but the current bill needs to get it right, lest we do more harm than good.”
Again, you seem to believe that the free market doesn’t “get it right,” and that farm rights must be dictated by Richmond.
“The re-enactment clause allows the matter to stay before the assembly and a proper fix may be forthcoming next year.”
Translation: Mr. Orrock wants farmers’ rights turned over to Richmond special interests. Mr. Orrock, pardon us, but we work for a living, and don’t have time to come to Richmond to negotiate our God-given rights with bureaucrats over dinner and drinks.
“I have always been and continue to be, a strong supporter of farming and private property rights, but we have to get it right. I am carrying a bill that passed the house today (HB1852), that makes some major expansions in what can be sold from the farm or at a farmers market and thereby, increase their financial viability.”
Really? Mr. Orrock capped sales under HB 1852 at $3,000 and creates Class 1 misdemeanors for homemakers, which is not only stingy, it will keep people at poverty levels. Homemakers can easily spend that “cap” just in producing their goods, so your “cap” will foster inferior, undesirable goods. You show that you know nothing about free markets. Your actions belie your claims that you believe in rights. Rights are not given or “capped” by Richmond. Farmers don’t feed off the scraps of freedom thrown at them by Bobby Orrock.
The list of Bobby Orrock’s top campaign contributors shows that the only individual is himself. The rest are special interests including those from outside Virginia. Whose interests does Bobby Orrock represent? Clearly not small farms and farmers.
|$10,631||Va Hospital & Healthcare Assn||Henrico|
|$10,000||Medical Society of Va||Henrico|
|$8,970||Va Dental Assn||Henrico|
|$6,000||Va Health Care Assn||Richmond|
|$5,147||Republican Party of Virginia||Richmond|
|$4,000||Alpha Natural Resources||Abingdon|
|$4,000||Amgen Inc||Newbury Park, CA|
|$3,500||Va Optometric Assn||Richmond|
|$2,500||Hospital Corp of America||Richmond|
|$2,500||Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America||Washington, DC|
|$2,000||Hunton & Williams||Richmond|
|$2,000||Lifepoint Hospitals Inc||Brentwood, TN|
|$2,000||Universal Leaf Tobacco Co||Richmond|
|$2,000||Va Assn of Realtors||Glen Allen|
|$2,000||Va College of Emergency Physicians||Norge|
|$2,000||Va Society of Anesthesiologists||Richmond|
|$2,000||Va Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons||Richmond|
|$1,750||Pfizer Inc||New York, NY|
|$1,500||Abbott Laboratories||North Chicago, IL|
|$1,500||Genworth Financial||Washington, DC|
|$1,500||Home Builders Assn of Va||Richmond|
|$1,500||Newport News Shipbuilding||Newport News|
|$1,500||Va Bankers Assn||Glen Allen|
|$1,500||Va Coal Assn||Richmond|
|$1,282||Robert D Orrock, Sr||Woodford|
|$1,250||Assn of Electric Cooperatives||Glen Allen|
|$1,250||Consol Energy Inc||Pittsburgh, PA|
|$1,250||Walgreens Co||Deerfield, IL|
|$1,000||Associated General Contractors||Glen Allen|
|$1,000||Boehringer Ingelheim||Ridgefield, CT|
|$1,000||EPIC Pharmacies Inc||Richmond|
|$1,000||Reed Smith LLP||Richmond|
|$1,000||Sanofi Aventis||Bridgewater, NJ|
|$1,000||Va Academy of Clinical Psychologists||Richmond|
|$1,000||Va Assisted Living Assn||Richmond|
|$1,000||Va Cable Telecom Assn||Richmond|
|$1,000||Va Chiropractic Assn||Christiansburg|