Contact: Gretchen Fox, 512-694-4326
Summit Discussions to Shape TAM Policy Recommendations for Interim Committees
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Texas manufacturers gathered today in San Marcos for the 2012 Texas Manufacturers Summit, a conference designed to showcase manufacturing as the foundation of the Texas economy and to highlight public policy necessary to grow manufacturing to sustain the State’s economic recovery. Policy tracks at the Summit covered environmental, energy, workforce and tax issues that directly impact manufacturers’ ability to grow and protect jobs.
Discussions at the Summit will shape the Texas Association of Manufacturers’ policy recommendations for interim legislative committees and other initiatives that are part of the Association’s long-term plan to grow manufacturing. Attendees heard from Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), Federal Reserve Bank president/CEO Richard Fisher and Dr. Barry Lawrence of Texas A&M University, each noting in their keynote addresses the significant contribution of manufacturing to the Texas and U.S. economies.
“Manufacturing is the backbone of the Texas economy, and it’s driving our country’s larger economic recovery,” said Fred Shannon, chairman of the Texas Association of Manufacturers (TAM). “Manufacturing accounts for roughly 13 percent of Texas’ Gross State Product and employs more than 838,000 Texans who earn 34 percent more in wages and benefits than the rest of the workforce.”
“Improving the state's manufacturing capability is a key priority for Texas' future, and this summit provided a tremendous opportunity to network with the industry's leaders and learn more about the important policies and issues impacting it," said Speaker Straus, who recognizes the importance of the sector in job creation and charged all House committees to focus on ways to grow the state’s manufacturing sector during their interim work.
“The Manufacturers Summit focused on the formula for keeping Texas attractive to new and continued manufacturing investment: broad-based, low-rate taxes, access to affordable reliable electricity, innovative economic development programs, predictable environmental regulation, and a prepared workforce,” said Shannon. “We’ll take what we’ve learned here to craft policy recommendations that we’ll share with legislators to help guide their work during the interim and TAM’s positions during the next legislative session.”
TAM’s long-standing policy principles are designed to protect and grow high quality manufacturing jobs and encompass energy, environmental policy, taxes, transportation, workforce development, and civil justice issues. A complete listing of TAM’s principles is available online at http://www.manufacturetexas.org/TAM_principles.
Energy and the need for sound energy policy played large at the Summit. “Manufacturers are by far the largest consumers of electricity in the State of Texas, and ensuring manufacturers have access to reliable, competitively-priced energy is central to our ability to create jobs and meet consumer demands,” said Shannon. Taxes were another hot topic. “Manufacturers pay 50 percent more in state and local taxes per job than does the average business,” said Shannon. “When discussing the Texas tax system, lawmakers must be mindful of this dynamic and ensure they don’t exacerbate an already unbalanced system by increasing the tax burden on the sectors of the economy poised to drive our economic recovery.”
When discussing the Texas workforce and manufacturing jobs, Joe Arnold, chairman of the TAM workforce committee said, “Texas manufacturers offer some of the best jobs in the state, but we’re having trouble finding the skilled workers we need to fill those jobs. TAM is committed to preparing a workforce with the kind of skills necessary for modern manufacturing jobs, which may or may not require a traditional four-year degree. We need to maintain high standards and accountability for all disciplines, while allowing flexibility in our education system that recognizes different talents and provides different options and approaches so students get the education they need for the good jobs that are out there.”
Many portions of the conference were shared in real time via social media on the Texas Manufacturers’ Twitter (@TXManufacturers) and Facebook pages (Facebook.com/TXManufacturers). Use hashtag #TAMSummit for a recap from the conference. “The 2012 Texas Manufacturers Summit brought together some of the key policymakers, leading economists, regulators and business leaders. It was a great opportunity for Texans who work in and around the manufacturing sector to network, collaborate and discuss challenges and opportunities facing the sector at the state and federal levels,” added Shannon.
The 2012 Texas Manufacturers Summit, presented by TAM, San Marcos Manufacturers Association and the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center convened at the Embassy Suites San Marcos and included site tours of two of manufacturing facilities in Central Texas, CFAN and Goodrich Aerostructures. The Summit’s presenting sponsor was ExxonMobil with other sponsors including Chesapeake Energy, Lockheed Martin, Heldenfels Enterprises, Thermon, TEEX and Innovation Event Management.
The Texas Association of Manufacturers (TAM) represents over 400 large and small companies from every manufacturing sector, employing more than 838,000 Texans with an average compensation of $76,000 a year (the highest in the private sector). Texas Association of Manufacturers is online at www.manufacturetexas.org. Join TAM on Facebook.com/TXManufacturers.