Poppe: Capitol is focused on the budgetPublished 10:14am Thursday, February 28, 2013
As we begin to wind down the second month of the legislative session, all eyes are on the updated state budget forecast due out Thursday.
Last December, the Minnesota Office of Management & Budget released an initial forecast showing a projected $1.1 billion state budget deficit over the next two years. The updated forecast is likely to change that figure and make an impact on budget proposals currently making their way through committees.
Regardless of what the updated forecast tells us, the DFL Majority is committed to passing a budget that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or ask middle class families to shoulder the burden of our fiscal challenges. We also believe in the value gained from investing in priorities like education.
While the state budget continues to be this year’s front-and-center issue, legislative committees are discussing other bills that will have a big impact on Minnesota’s businesses and economy.
This week the Agriculture Policy Committee passed a bill I authored (HF462) that makes changes to our state’s ethanol policies.
The NextGen Board proposal for biofuels came about after numerous stakeholder meetings that took place over the interim.
Right now, state law requires all gasoline sold in Minnesota to be “E10,” which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol derived from corn and 90 percent gasoline. HF462 allows for other biofuels to enter the market by allowing fuel blenders to use ethanol or other biofuels to satisfy the 10 percent requirement.
Instead of relying solely on traditional ethanol produced from corn, this proposal expands the law from requiring only ethanol to a law that requires biofuels generally.
The bill also makes changes to our state’s petroleum replacement goals. Current law requires all gasoline sold in Minnesota to use 20 percent ethanol by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025. HF462 decreases the 2015 ethanol threshold to 14 percent, adds additional intermediate goal levels, and increases the 2025 biofuels goal to 30 percent.
So, what does this mean for Minnesota?
Our state has long been a leader in biofuels. In order to continue to be industry leaders, we need to support the growth of emerging biofuels, while protecting the investments we have made in the ethanol industry. HF462 encourages more companies to consider making investments in Minnesota, building on the strong ethanol foundation already in place and driving economic growth and jobs for middle class families.
If you have questions, feedback, or ideas about our state’s energy policies such as the use of biofuels, please get in touch with me by phone at 651-296-4193, by email at email@example.com, or by postal mail at 487 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.