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Deeds Wants Cheaper Homegrown Meat

Tim Craig

With Brian J. Moran no longer serving in the House of Delegates, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) has the field to himself when it comes to pushing legislation in the General Assembly.

Deeds' new role as the lone legislator in the governor's race gives him an opportunity to grab the spotlight during the 45-day legislative session that begins next month. He can either find one, overarching issue to pursue that will generate statewide headlines or he can push several issues simultaneously that are targeted at specific blocs of voters.

It appears he may be embracing the latter strategy.

Deeds' first stab at making his mark appears aimed at making inroads with the farmers market crowd, who have a reputation for skewing to the left and being more politically active then the typical Kroger's shopper.

Deeds is introducing a bill to eliminate what he refers to as the double taxation of locally grown meat. Currently, Virginia farmers are charged a 5 percent sales tax when they take their sheep, cow, chicken or hog to the processor. The farmer is also charged a 2.5 percent sales tax when they sell their processed product at market. If Deeds' bill were approved, the farmer would pay just the 2.5 percent sales tax.

The bill is in response to concerns raised by Joel Salatin, who owns Polyface Farms in Augusta County. Salatin, an organic farmer, was featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivores Dilemma.

"If we can get this bill passed this session, it will be a boon for Virginia's thriving local food movement," said Peter Jackson, a Deeds spokesman. "More Virginians will be able to enjoy healthy, safe, locally produced and processed meats."

By Tim Craig  |  December 29, 2008; 4:44 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Tim Craig  
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