The Texas Association of Manufacturers (TAM) and its members gathered at the State Capitol today to celebrate Manufacturers Day, impressing upon lawmakers that #ManufacturingMatters to the state’s economy and jobs. Industry leaders urged state leaders to embrace legislation that would encourage investment, enhance transportation safety and productivity, and strengthen workforce education. Manufacturers Day will conclude with an evening reception featuring the Lockheed Martin Lightning II F-35 Demonstrator.
“Texas is the nation’s #1 exporting state for manufactured goods,” said Tony Bennett, president and CEO of TAM. “To stay on top, Texas needs policies that attract major investment and jobs here, policies that keep Texas products and commerce moving, and policies that prepare the workforce manufacturers need.”
TAM and its members discussed the following specific issues during meetings at the Capitol today:
TAM opposes Senate Bill 600 (Burton) to repeal Chapter 313, which allows school districts to offer temporary tax abatements to attract major capital investment projects and all the quality jobs that accompany them.
“In chemical manufacturing, for example, for every job inside a plant, there are 4.7 more jobs outside the fence that support the facility,” said Bennett. “You can’t be for jobs and against economic development policies like Chapter 313 that undeniably grow and sustain jobs.”
TAM members praised Sen. Robert Nichols for his leadership on truck weight reforms, which would allow trucks with additional axles and sets of brakes to travel on pre-approved highway corridors for limited distances. With reforms in place, the average shipper would see an 8 to 15 percent reduction in truck usage, with some experiencing even greater efficiencies.
“Current truck rules in Texas are weighing us down and slowing our economy,” said Bennett. “Fewer trucks on the road per ton of freight will be good for our roads, will reduce total truck miles traveled and will help lower the risk of accidents on our highways.”
This Manufacturers Day, TAM maintained its focus on workforce education, a long-time priority for the Association.
“With smart public policy, we can create the jobs, but we must have skilled workers to fill them,” Bennett said. “Texas manufacturers need workers with skills that range from engineering to welding, risk management to robotics and we need public policy that provides a variety of educational options for our students.”
TAM supports Senate Bill 22 (L. Taylor), which creates the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) and allows Texas ninth grade students to begin a career pathway that continues two years after high school graduation. P-TECH programs culminate in workforce-ready students receiving either an internationally-recognized certificate or an associate’s degree.
“SB 22 is smart policy because it allows young people to start working on the training and expertise they need to land a high-quality job, while still in high school,” Bennett said. “Manufacturing jobs are ready and waiting for skilled graduates and with policy like SB 22, Texas students will likewise be ready to seize those opportunities.”
TAM’s Top 10 policy priorities are available online at www.manufacturetexas.org, where visitors can also sign up for email updates and find the latest news from Texas manufacturers. Follow TAM on Facebook and Twitter.
Media Contact: Gretchen Fox, 512-694-4326
See also: State lawmakers told that #ManufacturingMatters, Rio Grande Guardian