Posted at 3:32 PM on March 30, 2007 by Bob Collins (1 Comments)
My colleagues -- a few of them anyway -- usually just put up with my obsession with the Capitol, and it's true -- maybe I do need to get a life. But sometimes, what happens up there is just so darned dramatic, you wish more people would pay attention.
JOBZ, Gov. Pawlenty' s program to bring more jobs to rural Minnesota, was dead in SF1024, the omnibus tax bill debated on the Senate floor this afternoon. Sen. Julie Rosen, however, brought it back to life, winning an amendment to do so.
But then Sen. Leo Foley, a Democrat who voted for Rosen's amendment, moved for reconsideration (someone on the winning side can do that)
That was enough to set off the Minority Leader of the Senate, Dave Senjem, who seemed prepared to throw in the towel on the whole bipartian thing...
On the revote, the Senate killed the amendment, and the program.. even after Sen. Rosen did an impressive job of dissecting her opponents, going down a list of DFLers who voted to kill the program, telling each how many jobs were created in their district and then telling each, "I dare you to go tell them it (JobZ) was a mistake."
So this is one of Pawlenty's pet projects, and the DFLers need Pawlenty to cave on a few things that they've stuck in a few bills. You think JOBZ will be a poker chip? Yep.
April and May should be a good show.
Incidentally Senjem and House Speaker Kelliher will be with Gary Eichten on Monday on Midday. And speaking of Eichten, check this out.
Is the purpose of the JOBZ program to help foster small to medium businesses in MN ?
And what has JobZ done for Fairmont, the home of Senator Rosen?
The JOBZ program was used to supplement the building of the ethanol plant at Fairmont in Martin County that will be the largest in the state, annual capacity to produce 115 million gallons of ethanol, which requires nearly 44 million bushels of corn, the equivalent of the annual production of Martin County, the state's largest corn producing county.
Martin is one of three Minnesota counties (in addition to Redwood and Renville) whose annual corn production for grain (vice silage) exceeded 40 million bushels in 2004. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service: http://220.127.116.11:8080/QuickStats/Create_County_Indv.jsp#top
Minnesota plants produce 2.7 gallons to 2.8 gallons of ethanol from a bushel of corn. 14 percent to 15 percent of Minnesota's corn crop is used for ethanol, and corn is still exported. Source:
Who's building the Fairmont plant? BioFuel Energy LLC of Denver, a privately held company, “partner” (subsidiary) of Cargill. Cargill: Not just the largest private company in the state, but also the Nation, and the Planet. Construction began on the Fairmont ethanol facility in October 2006. The initial corn grind is expected in January 2008, with ethanol production beginning a few weeks later.
Does Cargill (an International Company with lots of revenue) have the resources to build their own ethanol production facilities? Or do they need help from the state of Minnesota?
Economic Impact: The ethanol production facility in Fairmont will employ 50 workers. Annual payroll about $2 Million. I don't recall seeing any projections on annual revenue.
Dan Simon, COO and co-founder of BioFuel Energy, thanked local leaders and the community at large for supporting the Fairmont project. Simon said the company appreciated the community support it received during what was a sometimes difficult process. He said the city and county officials were always there helping and he also heard of all the people who drove to St. Paul during hearings with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to show support through the permitting process. He added that support for ethanol plants shows support for home-grown energy and reduces reliance on foreign oil.
JohnAlan Page, vice-president of Biofuel Solutions and project manager for the Fairmont facility, said the community’s support was critical in keeping the project alive.
“We thank the whole community and county for the tremendous support and welcome we got,” Page said. “We may not have got the permits without the local support.”
A representative from Cargill said the plant construction represents exciting times in agriculture. Cargill will provide the corn for the plant, market the ethanol and provide some management services. Cargill sees the plant as a growth opportunity and one of prosperity for Fairmont, he said.
Sen. Julie Rosen said it is only right the biggest facility goes up in the Fairmont area. “With our huge ag base it is only appropriate the first 100 million-gallon facility is built here,” Rosen said. “Now we need to educate people on what ag is. It is also renewables and we need to make sure people understand ... no matter how you slice it, Minnesota’s economy is ag-based.”
Rep. Bob Gunther acknowledged the difficulties in the permitting process. “I want to thank BioFuel Solutions for being perseverant in the permitting process,” he said. “Today is a great day.”
Representatives of Sen. Norm Coleman and Congressman Gil Gutknecht also spoke at the groundbreaking celebration.
Published Date: 10-20-2006 10:57 PM CT:
Ground is broken today on a new ethanol plant in Fairmont. Company officials say the location was just part of the reason Fairmont got the nod. In the end, it became a community, are we going to get the support we need. That's what it took. It also took a partnership with Cargill: the plant will sit next to Cargill's elevators, allowing both companies to reap the benefits . . . it will create additional demand for corn for local corn producers in the area. When finished, the facility will be the largest ethanol plant in the state. [approximately twice the capacity as the current largest ethanol producing plant]
News in the Fairmont Sentinel (2006) indicated the city council unanimously approved “tax breaks totaling $7.4 million over nine years, with subsidies ending on Dec. 31, 2015, for the builders of the Fairmont ethanol plant in exchange for investing at least $80 million in an ethanol plant and creating 40 jobs with wages averaging $30,000 annually, Biofuel Solutions is expected to spend $115 million to build the plant.
The tax breaks are part of the state's Job Opportunity Building Zones economic revitalization plan. (JOBZ) Fairmont city officials say the public purpose of the agreement with Biofuel Solutions is to boost local employment and increase the city's tax base.”
So if Minnesota loses JobZ to help Cargill start new to medium businesses in Minnesota that employ 50 people with an annual $2 Million payroll, will it be a big loss?
Posted by Nancy G | April 2, 2007 8:25 AM