Rep. Paul Anderson says ag bill needs more work to gain bipartisan support

“One area where this bill fell short is it does not have more funding for E15 fuel infrastructure,” Anderson said.

Rep. Paul Anderson
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ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House late Monday, April 25, approved an omnibus finance package with agriculture, broadband and housing components that Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, said spends a great deal of additional money but failed to garner bipartisan support.

Anderson is the House Republican lead on agriculture. He said the agriculture portion of the bill (House File 4366) included an 81% increase in related spending for 2023, without tangible benefits for mainstream farmers or consumers.

Anderson also said the bill takes away an important management tool for farmers that helps them manage their fertilizer applications.

“One area where this bill fell short is it does not have more funding for E15 fuel infrastructure,” Anderson said. “We had high hopes to further fund that project, but the majority left that funding out of the bill. President Biden recently announced retailers will be able to sell E15 year-round again this year. This bill should have done more to expand availability of this lower-cost variety of fuel at a time gas prices are at historic highs, so this bill is something of a missed opportunity.”

The bill also features legislation related to housing. Anderson said those measures are more geared toward programs and regulations instead of providing changes that address rising construction costs.


“Our state has a whole host of questionable regulations that continue driving up the cost of construction, putting home ownership out of reach for many,” Anderson said. “It seems like this is just more spending without getting to the real root of this issue.”

The bill also provides $25 million for the state’s Border-to-Border broadband program. Earlier versions of the bill provided $100 million for this purpose, but Anderson said House Democrats reduced the figure by 75% in the late stages of the committee process.

The bill was approved 70-62 along party lines in the House. It now heads to the Senate and then likely will become the subject of a conference committee in preparation for final passage ahead of the Legislature’s late May adjournment.

“While I could not support this current bill on the House floor, I remain hopeful the upcoming conference committee will make positive changes to the finished product so that it comes back worthy of broad, bipartisan support,” Anderson said. “Bills related to agriculture typically are among the least controversial at the Capitol and, in the end, I hope that’s the case again this year.”

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