The Reno Gazette Journal informs us today that Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) has a hay farm in Smith Valley (180 acres) for which he’d not bothered to get a business license. The royal irony herein is that Heller is a former Secretary of State, and so a person presumed to have some knowledge of business licenses in this state. What’s wrong with this picture?
His excuse is that it’s a home based business which doesn’t make a profit. Okay. Many family farms and ranches are home based. Most have business licenses. The business license costs are minimal, $200.00. The last time I looked hay was going for about $170 per ton. [hay price check here] I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out how a hay operation in Smith Valley is running in the red. Unless of course that’s a deliberate business plan for tax purposes? If it is, that’s not a good look for a “fiscally responsible” US Senator.
We can reasonably assume a crop of about 7 tons per acre, and Heller has 180 acres. Perhaps he’s getting about 1,260 tons? At $170 per ton that’s $214,200 gross. He’s going to have irrigation, pest management, and fertilization expenses like every other farmer. Additionally there are going to be expenses for labor, equipment, harvesting operations, and vehicles. It’s a little hard to imagine he’s racked up over $200,000 in expenses? If he isn’t making a profit — then (a) why’s he in the business? or (b) why is he continuing with a business operations plan which is losing money? Less gently, he’s either in the business to get some breaks, or he’s one of the state’s worst hay farmers.
Either way, he’s not been one of the state’s best Senators. His opposition to consumer protections from the financial sector (see his consistent opposition to the Dodd-Frank Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley) and his support for just about any proposal Wall Street has to offer make him more the Bankers Boy than a Nevada small farmer’s friend.