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Assemblyman
Brian M. Kolb
Assembly District 131
 
Rebuilding Our Manufacturing Base Is Critical To Rebuilding NY’s Economy And Middle Class
Legislative column from Assembly Minority Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
February 12, 2010

Back in the 1950s, there was a saying: “What is good for General Motors is good for America.” While times may have changed, that saying remains true when it comes to manufacturing and assessing its positive impact on our state’s economy. What is good for manufacturing is good for New York and the middle class. Manufacturing is a critical but often overlooked component of our economy. Just consider these facts on the importance of our manufacturing sector:

  • Manufacturing accounts for 5.6 percent of all jobs, 6.7 percent of all private sector jobs in New York, and 12 percent of all private sector jobs upstate;
  • Manufacturing employs over 550,000 New Yorkers and contributes $65 billion annually to our state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the sum total of all goods and services produced in New York;
  • Manufacturing jobs typically pay high wages and competitive benefits;
  • Manufacturing fosters more high-tech growth through research and development, and productivity innovations versus other segments of the economy; and
  • Every manufacturing job creates more than 2.5 related jobs in other sectors and every dollar spent in manufacturing generates an extra $1.43 “spin off” in economic activity.

MANUFACTURING JOBS BUILT THE MIDDLE CLASS

Manufacturing jobs are the jobs that built the middle class, not only in New York, but all across America. If we want to grow jobs and the middle class, then we need to grow manufacturing. I know this because prior to entering public service, I was President of Refractron Technologies and co-founder of the North American Filter Corporation. I also have served as Chair of our Assembly Minority Conference’s Manufacturing Task Force and traveled statewide to hear directly from manufacturing CEOs, managers and front-line employees about what state government could do to stop hurting and start helping.

Our Assembly Minority Conference and I realize how tough it is to run a manufacturing business, or any business, in New York State. Our employers pay some of the nation’s highest property and personal income taxes, energy, transportation, legal, pension and workers’ comp costs. This puts them at a decided economic disadvantage with competitors in other states.

ASSEMBLY MINORITY MANUFACTURING PRESERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

This past Tuesday, the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) invited me to speak as part of its “Manufacturing Day” event in Albany. During my remarks, I told attendees that our Conference is at the forefront of advancing real solutions to preserve, protect and strengthen manufacturing. As evidence of this, I highlighted parts of our Conference’s Manufacturing Preservation and Enhancement Legislative Agenda, key provisions of which include the following:

  • Manufacturing Enhancement Incentive (MEI) Wage Credit to provide 1.5% credit of eligible wages to manufacturers who maintain employment levels and 2.5% credit for increased employment;
  • MEI Energy Credit to make manufacturers eligible to receive two-tiered energy tax credit of $25 for maintained employees and $50 for increased employment;
  • MEI Property Tax Credit to provide eligible manufacturing firms a flat 10% property tax credit for property assessed;
  • Eliminate the Corporate Franchise and Personal Income Taxes for manufacturers;
  • Develop a Community Colleges Workforce Development program to re-train displaced manufacturing workers and direct SUNY to provide 50 percent tuition reimbursement to students participating in this initiative;
  • Implement a program to create a partnership between community colleges and BOCES through a high-tech manufacturing job training program; and
  • Create a “Manufactured in New York” product registry requiring Commissioner of Economic Development to establish and maintain Internet registry of products made in New York – and also create a label to identify and “brand” them.

These are some of the public policies our Conference is advancing to assist manufacturers. If our economy is going to recover and we are going to get the over 800,000 New Yorkers who are out of work back to work, it begins with rebuilding our manufacturing base.

SAVE THE DATES FOR MY TOWN HALL MEETINGS NEXT WEEK

ONTARIO COUNTY TOWN HALL MEETING: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16

6:00 – 6:45 pm, at the Canandaigua Town Hall, 5440 Routes 5&20 West, Canandaigua

ONTARIO COUNTY TOWN HALL MEETINGS: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17

6:00 – 6:45 pm, at the Geneva Town Hall, 3750 County Road 6, Geneva

7:00 – 7:45 pm, at the Manchester Town Hall, Highway Garage, 1272 County Road 7, Clifton Springs

As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter, should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us. You also can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and informational updates regarding state government and our Assembly Minority Conference.

 
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