A Congressional Government Accountability Office report concluding the 45-cent per gallon ethanol tax credit is unnecessary is being criticized by Missouri’s corn growers who see the findings motivated, in part, by politics.
Missouri Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Gary Marshall believes the fact the GAO report was ordered by two U.S. Senators who are not fans of ethanol or biodiesel might have played a role in the outcome
“It was requested by Senator Barbara Boxer from California and Senator Collins from Maine, neither of whom are traditionally ethanol or biofuel supporters,” said Marshall in an interview with the Missourinet. “I think sometimes politics gets in the way of the GAO coming out with a good study.”
Marshall says subsidies are needed to help what is still a new industry.
“I would continue to argue that the ethanol industry is a new, fledgling industry that has less than 10 percent of the market today,” said Marshall. “The only way that we’ve been able to penetrate that market is through either a government requirement or the use of subsidies.”
Missouri is among the states with a requirement that each gallon of gasoline sold must have a 10 percent ethanol content. Marshall says the mandate and the subsidies do not mean corn growers are raking in a lot of money.
“The 45-cents per gallon ethanol subsidy goes to the blender,” said Marshall. “It doesn’t go the ethanol industry, it doesn’t go to corn growers, it goes to the blender of gasoline. The theory is that that blender will pass along some of that 45 cents per gallon to consumers.”
The bottom line, in Marshall’s view, is that the GAO report will have little impact. He believes the debate in Congress will be over extending tax incentives on importing ethanol and other biofuels.