Lawmakers target ethanol subsidies

As I mentioned at the time, one of the things that jumped out from Gov. Pawlenty’s proposed budget is that he didn’t touch the state subsidy to ethanol producers. In 2007, the state paid $15 million to ethanol producers, and in the last big budget deficit, the state delayed the payments. Pawlenty, who has become an evangelist for ethanol, tried to eliminate the then-$27 million subsidy in his first year in office.

Today, seven House DFLers — mostly city slickers — introduced a bill that would repeal the state subsidy. The state sends checks to farmers who own ethanol plants four times a year.

In a recent interview, legislative leaders didn’t appear warm to repealing the subsidy:

As the session continues, the possibility increases of the city vs. rural legislative feuds reigniting. Within the last week some rural lawmakers filed legislative to divert transit funds to school transportation budgets.

  • Paul

    Seems to me Pawlenty never “targets” any of his own projects for cuts. Apparently when it comes to making the tough choices and tightening his belt he doesn’t apply his standards evenly.

  • kennedy

    A recently released study from the University of Minnesota indicates that corn based ethanol is more costly to produce than gasoline. Cellulosic ethanol, on the other hand, appears to have an advantage.

    If the state government operates efficiently (a big if) and directs the money to the most efficient source of ethanol, corn farmers would see little benefit. The state economy may actually see a future benefit if we can develop a more efficient means of ethanol production.

    Gasoline prices will eventually get back on their upward trend. I support continued research into alternative fuel sources, but not farm subsidies.

  • Amy

    I agree with Paul. Absolutely. Pawlenty is about leaving P-lenty for himself and none for the rest of us. The first thing he should have been looking at was subsidies such as these, which cost too much for what they produce (environmental damage). Instead Pawlenty gives corporations tax breaks and proposes wage freezes for what should now be the wealthiest of Minnesotans, state workers, while he flies off to Germany on those same funds. I say that as a $34k state employee who can afford one of these foreclosed, $80k houses with $100k of work who up until a couple weeks ago was on “state travel” restrictions, not allowed to travel to do a job which requires it! Go figure.