Manufacturing wants Corker's budget vote

Hank Hayes • Oct 17, 2017 at 8:30 PM

Why would two major business groups be worried about Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s vote on a 2018 budget resolution that would lead to teeing up tax reform legislation?

They were worried enough to stage a conference call with reporters on Tuesday to talk about the importance of Corker’s vote. Corker, a Republican, has announced he will not run for re-election in 2018.

Corker spokesman Micah Johnson, in an email, indicated they had nothing to worry about.

“Senator Corker voted for the budget resolution in committee, so unless there are substantial changes on the floor, he will support final passage,” Johnson said. “(And he has said that publicly many times).”

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and Bradley Jackson, president and CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, still held the conference call.

“Senator Corker has indicated he has concerns about the budget bill, so we want him to know manufacturers are really counting on this vote and we needed help on that,” Timmons insisted. “It’s a consequential time for tax reform, and it’s vital for manufacturers in America. There’s absolutely no escaping the fact that a vote on this budget, a ‘yes’ vote is essential to moving tax reform forward. … The NAM and manufacturers believe the stakes are too high for our elected leaders to miss this opportunity.”

Timmons emphasized surveys have indicated most manufacturers would invest in new equipment, hire more workers and pay better wages if tax reform happens.

Tax reform, Timmons noted, has not been modernized since Republican Ronald Reagan was in the Oval Office.

Since that time, foreign countries simplified their tax code and made it easy to do business overseas, Timmons pointed out.

“The truth of the matter is our current tax code lets other countries win. … It’s about jobs, it’s about paychecks, it’s about higher standards of living,” Timmons told reporters.

But Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said repatriated cash from overseas wouldn’t likely boost private investment.

Jackson said manufacturing employs about 340,000 people in Tennessee.

“This is a great opportunity for Tennessee,” Jackson said of the budget resolution vote. “Manufacturing is a tremendous economic driver for us. … A healthy manufacturing economy benefits the state.”

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