Hot Off the Press
Congress Restores Funding for
Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Thursday, June 24, 2004
In what has been hailed as a victory for manufacturers, The U.S. House of Representatives has approved $106 million in FY 2005 funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). MEPs are a network of nationwide centers that provide resources small and medium-sized manufacturers including assistance with process improvements, worker training, business practices and information technology applications. The Bush administration budget had included $39 million for MEPs in FY 2005, down from an FY 2003 operating budget of $106 million.
The Precision Metalforming Association, working with a coalition of Congressional offices and associations, sought to restore funding to the $106 million level. The Senate, in coming weeks, is expected to request similar funding.
In FY 2002, according to PMA, MEPs served 18,000 manufacturers, resulting in $681 million in cost savings for those manufacturers and 35,000 jobs saved or created. The Department of Commerce reports that the federal government’s ROI in MEPs is $4 in federal tax revenue for every $1 invested in the program.
PMA Focusing on Key Legislative Issues
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Over coming months, many initiatives affecting small and medium-sized businesses will be focused on in Washington, D.C. The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), with a permanent presence in our nation’s capital through its lobbying firm, Williams Mullen Strategies, is taking a proactive approach to these initiatives.
To make health care more affordable for small businesses, in May the House of Representatives passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 4281). The bill creates association health plans, allowing small businesses to band together through a trade association or chamber of commerce to purchase health care for employees. Savings on premiums through this act are estimated to be 15-30 percent. PMA calls on the Senate to take similar action, and asks you to visit www.metalformingadvocate.org
and sending a message to senators asking them to pass such legislation without delay.
Also, prior to the November elections, Congress is likely to pass a large corporate tax-cut bill. PMA is working to ensure that the final legislation will include a reduction in the corporate tax bracket from 35 to 32 percent for domestic manufacturers. A portion of this bill may include an extension of a tax law that allows companies to expense $100,000 toward the cost of capital equipment. The credit is set to expire in 2006. PMA also seeks bill language that addresses tax credits for worker training and hiring, and provides incentives for research and development of new technology.
Ryerson Tull Agrees to Purchase J&F Steel
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
J&F Steel, a carbon flat-rolled processor with locations in Burns Harbor, IN, Jenison, MI, Memphis, TN, and Middletown, OH, will be sold by its owner, Arcelor, to Ryerson Tull, Inc. Ryerson Tull will operate J&F as part of its coil-processing division. The deal should close during the third quarter of 2004.