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Ideological Battles In Washington Threaten New York Manufacturing

Some significant challenges are affecting New York manufacturing businesses arising from political debates in Washington, and Conservative versus Liberal ideology appears to be at the forefront of the clash.  Here are two examples to consider:


On June 30, the US Export-Import (“Ex-Im”) Bank charter lapsed due to congressional inaction.   This is problematic for New York’s resurgent manufacturing sector because of the pressure put on large companies to seek stable sources of funding for projects.  If the US, in effect, unilaterally disarms by closing our Bank while 60 other countries keep theirs, suppliers to manufacturers like GE and Boeing will be ignored as foreign banks require investment in foreign suppliers as a condition of the deal.  There is talk that Congress might be able to reinstate the Bank when it returns from recess in September, but businesses hate uncertainty and are likely unwilling to wait. Even if Congress decides to reinstate the Bank this fall, it may be too late to stop contracts from being entered into during the summer and jobs being lost all across New York.


The above situation is mostly caused by a small group of Republicans in the House.  On the other hand, some Democrats are aggressively pushing an equally unrealistic goal called the “Fight for 15”.  Giving unskilled laborers massive raises will place small manufacturers at a terrible disadvantage in attracting people to manufacturing jobs which they are already struggling mightily to fill.   The only current advantage manufacturing jobs seem to have is they pay pretty well - you don't need to wait 6 years to get a $15/hour salary.  If that differential disappears, industry will suffer here in New York. 


This one-two punch could leave New York’s economy as one with lots of fast food workers and few technicians, and that is hardly a recipe for success in sustaining a stable, well-balanced economy.


- Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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