Rep. Tom Reed and local manufacturers gathered Thursday morning at the Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier (MAST) in Jamestown for a candid discussion of the manufacturing industry's job creation outlook and a visit to MAST's training facility.
"To have such a variety of different manufacturers in the same room, around the same table, is really a valuable thing," Rep. Reed said. "They are able to give me a frontline, real-time update of what they're seeing as the biggest impediments to job growth and we are able to talk out possible solutions face to face."
Topics at the meeting included tax reform, rising utility costs, burdensome federal regulations, and workforce development -- all framed around the need to get more people working.
"At a foundational level, common sense, comprehensive tax reform will serve as the basis for setting manufacturers on a path toward growth," Reed continued. "With the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, the United States is seeing jobs shipped overseas instead of investing in our domestic plants and in our local workforce.
"We're also seeing the development of natural gas as a game changer for the U.S. manufacturing industry. We've seen that impact recently on the local economy with studies showing repowering facilities in Dunkirk and Cayuga with natural gas will create and preserve hundreds of jobs and lower utility rates."
Reed cited a recent TIME magazine article that pointed to the fact that while the U.S. economy as a whole continues to struggle, the manufacturing industry has grown at a much faster rate with 500,000 jobs being added in the last three years.
Reed is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan House Manufacturing Caucus along with Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio. The Caucus holds hearings with panelists from local manufacturers from the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. Most recently, Reed welcomed representatives from Cummins Inc. and the Finger Lakes Community College/G.W. Lisk partnership. Reed was also a member of the Ways and Means tax reform working group on manufacturing.
The Manufacturing Advisory Board is one of several such specialized boards Congressman Reed uses to get perspective and insight into legislation and challenges facing constituents.