Manufacturers’ Day at Capitol Focuses on Competitiveness, Electricity, Workforce Development
February 21, 2023
Bennett: “Policy that keeps us competitive is imperative.”
AUSTIN — 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 advance Texas’ competitiveness, encourage economic development, prioritize reliability and affordability in the state’s electricity market design, and direct more funding for workforce skills programs at community colleges and state technical colleges.
“Competition for major manufacturing projects is fierce and global. And it’s no wonder. Manufacturing investments grow local economies, create high-paying jobs, and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue,” said Tony Bennett, president and CEO of TAM. “Attracting and keeping large-scale manufacturing projects in Texas also strengthens our national supply chain security and protects our leadership in emerging technologies and advanced manufacturing. Policy that keeps us competitive is imperative.”
Specifically, manufacturers are urging the Legislature to create a modern, transparent, and accountable economic development program that would allow school districts to offer limited, temporary property tax discounts to attract manufacturing and other projects. “Limited, temporary property tax discounts are a must-have economic development tool. Without competitive economic development policy, Texas will continue to lose projects to other states and nations.” Bennett noted that over the last year, Texas lost several multibillion-dollar deals, including Rivian to Georgia, Intel to Ohio, and Micron to New York.
TAM is also focused on the state’s electricity market design and supports an approach that would increase reliability and maintain affordability. “We know that capacity isn’t the issue on the grid. Unpredictable generator performance is an operational problem that the Public Utility Commission’s suggested ‘Performance Credit Mechanism’ does not address. Texas needs a plan that focuses on performance that drives reliability,” said Bennett.
Regarding workforce development, TAM and its members are urging lawmakers to direct more funding toward high-quality workforce training programs that provide exceptional rate of return for the Texas economy — programs administered by the Texas Workforce Commission and local workforce boards including the Skills Development Fund (SDF), Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Program, and learn-while-you-earn apprenticeships. Bennett said, “Robust career and technical education (CTE) programs and funding in all school districts should be prioritized to prepare the future workforce for the high-tech, high-quality manufacturing jobs that anchor our economy and our nation’s supply chain security.” Bennett noted that TAM strongly supports new state funding requests from Texas’ community colleges and the Texas State Technical College System that he said will be “critical to filling shortages in our state’s talent pipeline.”
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The Texas Association of Manufacturers (TAM) actively represents the interests and priorities of more than 600 member companies in Austin and in Washington, D.C. Manufacturers in Texas account for 11.9 percent of the total output in the state – more than $226.95 billion in 2021– and employ more than 881,000 Texans in jobs that pay an average compensation of over $90,100 annually. On average, each manufacturing job created also provides 5 additional jobs in our communities. For two decades, Texas remains the number one exporting state for manufactured goods in the United States.
Media contact: Gretchen Fox, 512-694-4326