Conservative Groups Team Up to Stop Sugar Bailouts

November 18, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 17, 2011) – As November 23rd approaches, the Congressional Super Committee is considering jamming agricultural subsidies into their budget recommendations. These efforts, led by agricultural special interest groups, are an attempt to bypass the traditional Farm Bill legislation planned for 2012. Now state based conservative groups are coming together to share their views with inside the beltway heavyweights to speak out against the inclusion of Big Sugar in a back door, sequestered sneak attack.

The Super Committee, charged with righting the economic wrongs of the country, continues to include sugar subsidies that benefit a minority and cost consumers and sugar-using businesses millions annually. Groups such as the National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Prosperity are calling for a more public process that sheds light on these back-door policies.

The U.S. Sugar Policy has been in place since 1934, offering aggressive subsidies for sugar produced domestically and setting a price floor, making sugar produced in America twice as expensive as sugar produced in other nations. These artificially high prices cost consumers and sugar-using businesses more than $4 billion each year. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the U.S. sugar policy costs taxpayers more than $370 million each year. If the current sugar program was eliminated, the U.S. economy could see an increase of $514 million, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

“The fact is that Americans pay more for sugar produced in our own country,” says Duane Parde, President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Taxpayers Union. “Because of this, our sugar-using goods are much more expensive than those produced with sugar from outside of the U.S. The sugar policy is an antiquated one that forces our sugar-using industries to fight an uphill battle against imported goods every day.”

Many groups question the logic in providing additional funding to a small industry that is seeing great financial success in a challenging economy. The federal sugar program benefits only 4,700 sugar farms. Additionally, for every sugar-growing job saved through high sugar prices, about three manufacturing jobs in the country are lost.

“Subsidies for Big Sugar are another example of government picking who the winners are in business,” says Americans for Prosperity’s Florida State Director Slade O’Brien. “These current policies are benefitting a select well-connected few, when Congress should be focused on instituting policies that positively impact as many Americans as possible.”

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