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Industry calls for less regulation

By KATHY REMILLARD
Union Leader Correspondent

June 13. 2012 9:11PM
U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta speaks at St. Anselm College. (Kathy Remillard/Union Leader Correspondent)


GOFFSTOWN - Growth of the manufacturing sector was the focus of a manufacturing summit held by Congressman Frank Guinta at St. Anselm College's Institute of Politics Wednesday.

The summit was the final event of a three-part series as part of Guinta's Getting Granite Staters Back to Work initiative.

Guest presenter Ned Monroe, senior vice president of external relations for the National Association of Manufacturers, said the manufacturing industry is on the verge of a renaissance, but changes in governmental policies and regulations must be made in order for it to occur.

Monroe told the audience of about 30 that there are roughly 2,000 manufacturers in New Hampshire and that 10.5% of jobs in the state are in the manufacturing industry.

'Manufacturing is a bright and vital part of the economy,' Monroe said, adding that the industry has outpaced every other sector in terms of economic growth.

Yet there are some U.S. policies that keep many businesses, especially small businesses, from additional growth, said Monroe.

According to Monroe, as of April 1, the corporate tax rate in the US was the highest in the world, at 39.2%.

'No one was celebrating this milestone, except for our competitors,' he said.

With global competitors like Japan and Canada lowering their corporate tax rate, Monroe said it puts the United States at a disadvantage.

In addition, Monroe said government regulation has forced smaller manufacturing firms to use their resources for meeting regulations instead of investing in more employees.

Guinta said he's heard from many businesses that 'red tape' hinders the ability of owners to grow their businesses, and that one owner told him he spends as much time on regulatory paperwork as he does on producing.

'That is a critical, critical issue that has to be addressed,' Guinta said.

Another issue for manufacturers is the use of energy.

Monroe said the manufacturing industry uses one-third of all energy produced nationwide, and Guinta said that since the fluctuation of oil prices contributes to the cost of petroleum-based products, more energy options should be available.

'We do need a long-term, all-of-the-above energy policy,' Guinta said.

Guinta also stressed that the face of the manufacturing industry is changing, that many industries are becoming more technology-based.

'Gone are the days of white collar and blue collar,' Guinta said, adding that improving education for manufacturing jobs must be more of a partnership among vocational programs, community colleges and employers.

Over the course of the series, Guinta said he's heard from many constituents who have made their opinions clear.

'But we wanted to make sure we had engagement and participation,' Guinta said.

While the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector is no longer declining, Guinta said, 'In my view, stability isn't good enough.'

Guinta said he will compile a report on the series that will be released later this year.

'We need to decide what we can do in New Hampshire and what we can do differently in Washington,' he said.

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Kathy Remillard may be reached at kremillard@newstote.com.


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