TD Bills Clear Committee

November 13, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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LANSING — Part of a package of bills aimed at helping the manufacturing and tool & die industries recover moved out of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor this week.

The four bills that passed out of committee would establish tool & die recovery zones, increase the apprentice training credit in the Single Business Tax (SBT), amend the Michigan Broadband Development Authority Act by offering grants to qualified tool & die companies and allow skilled trades to present information at college and career nights at high schools.

“This brings us one step closer to helping the tool & die industry recover in our state and create more job opportunities for our residents,” said Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City. “This package is extremely important for the health of our economy.”

As chair of the Commerce and Labor Committee, Allen and his Senate colleagues held six weeks of hearings on issues facing the tool & die industry before introducing the bills recently.

The package also contains three resolutions to Congress encouraging legislators to develop economic incentives and other programs to aid in the recovery and stabilization of the manufacturing industry.

Throughout the hearings, the committee learned of the many struggles companies face just to keep their doors open.

In another effort to safeguard manufacturing jobs, Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, introduced Senate Bill 841 to create a “czar” position within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth to focus on creating and retaining manufacturing jobs.

The bill is expected to be reported out of the Economic Development, Small Business and Regulatory Reform Committee and go to the full Senate for consideration today.

Being home to the big three automakers, Michigan has naturally been a place for manufacturing and tool & die businesses to set up shop. Due to competition from foreign countries such as China, where the government subsidizes the industry, manufacturing industries have been at a substantial disadvantage.

“The tool & die industry is the backbone of Michigan’s economy,” said Allen. “If we don’t protect this industry, we will see the rest of our manufacturing sector leave Michigan too.”           

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