The U.S. House is scheduled consider HR 4213 today. Called the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loophole Act, the measure contains a one-year retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax incentive. The bill also includes ag disaster relief for producers who suffered losses in 2009.
In a notice issued late Thursday, the American Soybean Association is urging growers to contact their representatives and ask them to vote in favor of HR 4213. They recommend checking out clerk.house.gov/member_info/index.html to contact your representative. Or you can call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard directly at (202) 224-3121.
The biodiesel tax incentive is an important job creator. According to ASA, the incentive - which expired at the end of 2009 - supported 23,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy on an annualized basis. And the incentive added $4.1 billion to the nation's gross domestic product, while generating $828 million in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments. Since the tax lapsed, the industry has lost more than half of its production.
The ag disaster relief is targeted at a range of producers who lost money in 2009 including specialty crops, livestock, sugar, aquaculture, cottonseed and poultry. In addition to approximately $1 billion in supplemental direct payments to producers with a minimum 5-percent loss in production, the bill would provide $42 million in cottonseed assistance, $25 million in aquaculture assistance, $21 million to a Hawaiian sugar cane cooperative, $75 million to poultry producers, and $150 million for specialty crop producers. The program is designed for payments to be issued quickly through USDA and State block grants.