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Editorial: Ethanol subsidy vote was unfair

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The growing appetite in Congress to end special interest tax breaks hit west central Minnesota when the Senate vote Thursday to repeal tax credits for producing ethanol.

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The Senate voted 73-27 to repeal the $5 billion annual subsidy. This repeal vote came just two days after the Senate rejected a similar measure.

The Senate's measure is now added to a federal economic development program. The prospects of that overall measure are still uncertain.

The ironic fact is that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, claimed Thursday that the best way for ethanol to survive is for the industry to stand on its own two feet.

Coburn's statement as oil-state Oklahoma's senator is hypocritical as the Senate recently failed to eliminate a $21 billion in subsidies to oil companies over 10 years.

It is also hypocritical that 80 some Republicans and Democrats in Congress have signed as backers of the T. Boone Pickens natural gas bill. This bill would provide every filling station converting to natural gas a $100,000 tax credit, along with $64,000 in subsidies for trucks that convert and up $11,500 for every car that converts.

Now if Congress is truly serious about curbing deficit-building tax credits, they need to take a serious look at all fuel subsidies, including ethanol, oil and natural gas.

The ethanol subsidy decision is not completely ended yet and we hope it does not.

We believe all fuel tax subsidies should be treated the same and ethanol should "not" be singled out.

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