Industry News | June 23, 2011

NRA Says No to Corn-Based Ethanol Subsidies

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The National Restaurant Association (NRA) released the following statement after a June 16 bipartisan Senate vote to end billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies for corn-based ethanol:

“Subsidies for corn-based ethanol for fuel distort the market and divert resources away from the food supply, which has a real impact on food prices. Coupled with the tariff on imports, the result is a real-life impact on the cost of food, and restaurants’ bottom-line,” says Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the NRA. “The National Restaurant Association and our members are grateful to the bipartisan group of Senators who stood with the nation’s 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and our nearly 13 million employees and voted to end billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsides for corn-based ethanol.”

The U.S. Senate voted 73-27 to repeal a 45-cent per gallon tax credit to blend ethanol in gasoline—a cost of $6 billion this year alone—and end a 54-cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol on July 1. The provision was sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

The NRA is working as part of a broader coalition to end the billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies for corn-based ethanol, which has a dramatic affect on food prices. Food costs are one of the most important line items for restaurants, representing about 33 cents of every dollar in restaurant sales. As a result, fluctuations in food costs significantly impact restaurants’ bottom lines.

The coalition sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to support the Feinstein amendment.

“Conventional ethanol is due to receive some $6 billion in refundable tax credits this year,” the coalition members wrote to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. “Continuing to subsidize oil companies to blend ethanol—which they are already required to do by the Renewable Fuels Standard—is wasteful and unnecessary. This amendment will save U.S. taxpayers several billion dollars this year and have virtually no impact on ethanol production, jobs, or prices.” 

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