Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Jim Campi
May 18, 1999(202) 467-5300


(WASHINGTON, DC) - Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Tom Schatz today attended a news conference hosted by the Coalition for Sugar Reform to speak against federal sugar subsidies.  Schatz's remarks follow.

"On behalf of the 600,000 members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, I want to applaud Reps. Dan Miller (R-Fla.) and George Miller (D-Ca.) for introducing the Sugar Program Reform Act.

"When Congress reformed most agricultural programs in 1996, it left the sugar program, created by the 1981 Farm Bill, virtually untouched.  The present program restricts foreign competition and ensures a high domestic price for sugar far in excess of world prices.

"The sugar program costs consumers at least $1.2 billion in higher costs for sugar and sugar-containing products, plus costs taxpayers another $90 million in higher prices for sugar and sugar-containing products purchased for the federal government’s feeding programs.

"The program has virtually destroyed the domestic sugarcane refining industry.  Since the program was enacted in 1981, 12 of the industry’s 22 refineries have closed.  The industry has lost over 40 percent of capacity, and thousands have lost their jobs.

"A handful of wealthy sugar barons, less than one percent of the nation’s sugar growers, gobble up 58% of the program benefits.  These are not small family farmers.  In a recent year, 33 cane sugar growers obtained more than one million dollars each from this government boondoggle.  In fact, one grower received 65 million dollars.

"Furthermore, as we are looking forward to World Trade Organization negotiations in Seattle, we should keep in mind that the sugar program undermines the ability of U.S. negotiators to achieve greater market access for many other agricultural commodities.  When the United States expects special treatment for sugar, other countries are encouraged to seek special treatment for their politically sensitive crops.

"There is no denying that the sugar program is a sweet deal for the handful of special interests it makes rich.  But, it is a sour deal indeed for everybody else, including consumers, taxpayers and other farmers who lose foreign markets for their products.  It is well past time to get rid of this un-American relic of the past."

CCAGW is a 600,000-member nonpartisan, nonprofit lobbying organization dedicated to enacting legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.



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