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Sugar, not so sweet

July 3, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

I bet we have all seen the nice advertisements the sugar industry has been running, don't they look innocent?

All of our Florida representatives need to be called on to answer directly a two-part question. Do you support the Farm bill that have given more than $1.1 billion in federal loans made this fiscal year to process sugar. As domestic sugar-trading prices are at a four-year low, the USDA has voiced concern that the companies may not be able to pay back what they owe, which contributes to why lawmakers on both sides call the program a hidden tax on consumers.

The federal government has lent out $8.8 billion to sugar processors over the past nine years, and the Agriculture Department announced just before last week's vote that it would spend $38 million to buy up excess sugar this year. And if they do, ask them do they receive contributions from the sugar PAC's to help finance their campaigns?

Very simple right! Well, also let them know you know the following facts that were published in the Wall Street Journal on June 27, 2013. The following are some of the amounts given to our representatives here in Florida:

- Florida Sugar Cane League: 2012, $155,750; in 2008, $231,450.

- Sugar cane growers co-op of Florida: 2012, $87,250; in 2008, $69,977.

- US Sugar: 2012, $56,000; in 2008 $27,700

- Florida Crystal: 2012, $21,500; in 2008 $25,300.

So, as far as I can add, Florida politicians in 2012 received $320,500 (slightly down from 2008 where they received $354,427) in political contributions for purposes of reelection so they can maintain the status quo, "at our expense."

And, they balk at contributing funds to clean up the waterways' mess they (sugar growers) created and we the tax payers have to fund, which is a much larger percent then the whole sugar growers in Florida put together.

I have reached out to Congressman Radel several times on this issue with no response to my questions, maybe if more people contacted our representatives things would change.

Ed Wilson

Fort Myers Beach



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