November 25, 2014

Romney’s stand on ethanol subsidies “pretty strong stuff”

Republican candidate Mitt Romney says he’s “enough of a business guy” to want to review farm programs and federal price supports for corn and soybeans before saying what he would do as president.  

“I’m not running for office based on making promises of handing out money, all right?” Romney said in Iowa Thursday.

Romney made his comments in Treynor, during a roundtable discussion with over a dozen local farmers and business leaders. Ethanol producer Rick Schwark told Romney the corn-based fuel has a ripple effect on the rural economy.

“In our facility, we have 46 people that work directly at the plant, but each day we receive over 100 semis of corn,” Schwark said. “Those are trucks. Each have a truck driver.”

Romney said he supported federal subsidies for ethanol to help get the industry on its feet, but the subsidies shouldn’t continue forever, according to Romney.  Ward Chambers, a doctor who lives — and farms — in rural Treynor, called that a gutsy stand for Romney.

“No more ethanol subsidies,” Chambers said. “That’s pretty strong stuff for southwest Iowa.”

The federal subsidy for ethanol production is set to expire at the end of the year.  Romney indicated he would like to see more a more gradual reduction in the tax break rather than an abrupt elimination.

During an August visit to Iowa, Romney said he hoped to do “darned well” in the Caucuses. Yesterday in Treynor Romney began his conversation with the folks his campaign had invited to the event in Treynor like this:  “There’s a good shot I might become the next president of the United States. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s a good shot and if I am, I will benefit by having heard from you.”

Romney made three stops in Iowa Thursday, beginning in Sioux City and ending in Council Bluffs, where he met with about three dozen members of the Chamber of Commerce.