In the previous MN Political Roundtable review of “Finstad In The Field” (aka Minnesota’s First District Representative Brad Finstad discussing his activities to “deliver real results for a richer, safer and freer Minnesota and America”), it was noted that his legislation presents a great sounding title but reading the bill may make you question the hype. So, the January 20th edition, promotes another bill authored by Congressman Finstad with a great title … and a lot of questions.
Before digging into that bill, it should be noted that this week’s “Finstad In The Field” does not mention the biggest issue the country is facing … will the Republican-controlled House increase the debt limit so that our bills can be paid, or takes us on a path to default. Jim Wiesemeyer of the Farm Journal wrote “the GOP House wouldn’t move to lift the debt ceiling unless Congress slashes at least $130 billion in federal spending next fiscal year or addresses broader fiscal reforms that tackle the ballooning debt.”
$130 billion …. hmmm … based on Congressman Finstad’s bill, better make that $132 billion.
Where will the cuts come from ???? Well, the Republican Study Committee’s “Blueprint to Save America” outlines a plan to defund farm bill conservation programs that pay farmers to retire environmentally sensitive croplands. Other areas that could be cut range from infrastructure investments to health care services. Heck, just last week two bills were introduced by Republicans — H. R. 426 to end the investment tax credit for offshore wind facilities and another reducing the tax credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles (H.R. 327) — to end tax credits thus reducing the deficit.
The argument for these tax credits is that it encourages people/businesses to invest in programs that will create jobs …. conversely taking away these tax credits may result in the loss of jobs.
OK … addressing Congressman Finstad’s bill …. H R 414 Investing in Rural Manufacturing Act is designed “to incentivize investment in rural manufacturing through the creation of a forgivable loan program” using the Small Business Administration’s loan grant program.
The actual language of the bill has not been published yet … but one of the co-sponsors is Republican Bill Johnson who last year co-sponsored H.R.6975 – Rural Investment in America Act which “authorizes the Small Business Administration to make loans for certain costs to businesses that manufacture goods essential to critical infrastructure sectors in rural areas. Businesses that meet at least 75% of their job creation goals under such loans may receive partial loan forgiveness.”
Gosh … that sounds like the same concept … and that 2022 bill gives some details … like allowing up to 50% of the loan to be forgivable if certain job levels are met … and authorizes monies “to be appropriated to the Administrator of the Small Business Administration $2,000,000,000“ (which is $2 Billion that must be cut from some other program or the national debt increases.) Ya gotta wonder how the funds would be distributed … as some States already have various “tax incentive” programs and the Federal Government already has other programs such as Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants …. will those be reduced ?
Congressman Finstad’s proposal might benefit smaller communities like his home city of New Ulm … but larger communities like Rochester and Mankato would have too large of a population to apply. Gosh, doesn’t that create a situation which could cause an economic battle between communities …. ya know … “the government should be picking winners and losers” something that Republicans have long complained about. Also, this could be a boon for privately owned properties that could be developable into industrial park properties …. just like the Kushner’s did using Opportunity Zones breaks created under the Trump 2017 tax law.
Until the Finstad’s bill language is recorded, the “terms” could change from last year’s proposal. There does not appear to be a companion bill in the Senate, so ya gotta wonder if this isn’t just another gimmick by “Bunkum Brad” to show that he is working. [For those that did not read last week’s commentary, the word “bunkum” was brought into the lexicon by Congressman Felix Walker, who wanted to get some good press from the Buncombe North Carolina newspapers by promoting irrelevant legislation so as to divert his constituents attention away from other issues that were more important.]
The House now has rules that require proposed legislation to reference the applicable part of the Constitution which grants the authority for the legislative proposal and a single statement of the subject matter … good idea … but how about telling the taxpayer’s how much this gonna cost, where the funds will come from, and who is offering the companion bill in the Senate. Without that information … the legislation is pure bunkum.
But heck, it could get approved without anyone looking into the financial costs …. after all, the bill has been sent to George Santos and the Small Business Committee for approval.