A.B.A. lauds initiative to end ethanol subsidies

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — The American Bakers Association expressed strong support to two U.S. senators seeking to end ethanol subsidies.

The bakers, which have been part of a large coalition of food, political, environmental and other groups voicing opposition to the subsidy, sent a letter to senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland.

“We strongly support your legislation, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit Repeal Act, to end the refundable Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC),” the A.B.A. said. “If enacted immediately, your legislation would save taxpayers nearly $4 billion over the remainder of 2011. Non-partisan agencies like the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office have already concluded that the subsidy is unnecessary, and leading economists agree that ending it would have little impact on ethanol production, prices or jobs.”

The senators introduced the bill March 9 to eliminate the “blenders tax credit,” providing 45c per gallon to ethanol blenders.

“The ethanol tax credit is bad economic policy, bad energy policy and bad environmental policy,” Mr. Coburn said. “The $6 billion we waste every year on corporate welfare should instead stay in taxpayers’ pockets where it can be used to spur innovation, stimulate growth and create jobs. I’m hopeful my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will take a stand against business-as-usual special interest giveaways and eliminate this wasteful and harmful subsidy.”
Fiscal discipline also was behind Mr. Cardin’s message.

“As our economy begins to grow again, we need to bring our budget under control through a combination of smart cuts and smart investments,” he said. “Cutting yet another subsidy to big oil that is making big profits is smart policy. Rather than underwriting ethanol subsidies that are causing food prices to skyrocket, we should be supporting American innovation in more sustainable alternative fuels the results of which will help create jobs, lower energy costs and strengthen our national security.”

The Snack Foods Association, together with the A.B.A., was among 34 groups that signed the letter.
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