California Farm Bureau Administrator Jim Houston told Agri-Pulse this week his biggest disappointment with the governor’s budget proposal was the absence of tax credits for farm employees. Houston said this is critical, since the state’s ag overtime law began at the start of the year.

“Employees who used to get 10 to 12 hours a day are only getting eight hours a day,” he said.

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The Farm Bureau backed a 2020 bill in the Legislature that offered a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. Houston explained that this would have offset the costs of overtime wages and resulted in a 25-40% raise for farm employees. Yet the bill had no committee hearing or interest from the governor, which Houston said was only because farm interests were the ones asking for the measure.

“If we've got a $15 billion surplus, can ag employees get some of that, please?” he said.