Lame Duck Nixon Pulls a Dine-And-Dash on Biodiesel
Slap back at the legislature leaves outstanding debts unpaid, again.
When Governor Nixon cut the state budget in response to overridden vetoes, he undid the legislature’s work to pay Missouri’s debts for renewable fuels work he has lauded.
“In his haste to respond to decisions made by our legislature, Governor Nixon has fallen into the trap of robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Gary Wheeler, executive director of the Missouri Soybean Association. “Cutting the dollars budgeted to repay debt under Missouri’s Qualified Biodiesel Producer Incentive Fund only serves to kick that particular can down the road to the next administration.”
The biodiesel fund is currently $9.6 million in arrears. The legislature had fully funded repayment during Missouri’s springtime legislative session, but Nixon’s budget cuts this summer and again yesterday turned that black ink back to red. This marks the third time Nixon has set aside efforts to pay what Missouri owes. He also cut the legislature’s efforts to repay the debts in 2014.
“In the business world, we are required to pay our debts. We appreciate that the legislature understands the State of Missouri should be no different,” Wheeler said. “Governor Nixon has been quick to recognize the jobs and economic impact our soybean farmers and biodiesel plants generate, but is now attempting to leave those same folks holding the bill while he exits stage left. It’s a shameful parting gift to those in agriculture who not only supported him the last eight years, but who have also already paid the taxes associated with that $9.6 million.”
Biodiesel alone supports nearly 2,500 Missouri jobs and has created more than $1.7 billion in value-added benefit to Missouri’s GDP since 2007. Governor Nixon has not shied away from drawing attention to those impacts – and himself – by visiting biodiesel plants to highlight the industry and its contributions to Missouri. Likewise, in his role of providing leadership on the Governor’s Biofuels Coalition, Nixon has championed both the environmental and economic benefits of advanced biofuels – of which biodiesel is the only one in the market today.
The Missouri Qualified Biodiesel Producer Incentive Fund, administered by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, was established in 2002 to provide limited funding to Missouri-owned plants using soybeans and other products grown in Missouri to produce the fuel. Funds were available for a maximum of 60 months.
The Missouri Soybean Association is a statewide membership organization designed to increase the profitability of Missouri soybean farmers through advocacy and education efforts across the state.