Pay Attention

There are economic-based initiatives pending before our federal legislative bodies that all manufacturers should be aware of.

As this issue goes to press, there are economic-based initiatives pending before our federal legislative bodies that all manufacturers should be aware of.

These are not "bailouts" like those pushed through to benefit the airline industry. Rather, these bills contain stimuli that affect the depreciation schedules and write-off percentages for capital equipment purchases over the next few years. These bills—H.R. 2485 (currently in committee) and H.R. 3090 (currently on the Senate floor)—are just starting points, though, in terms of meaningful, long-term investment in manufacturing sectors that were hurting long before September 11.

In October 2001, John Memmelaar of Royal Master Grinders testified before Congress' Committee on Small Business on behalf of AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology. He touched on a theme relevant not only to machine tool manufacturers, but also to all small businesses stuck in manufacturing's malaise: Don't stop there. Mr. Memmelaar said the group supports the bills as an important first step. However, it hopes to see them improved as they move through the legislative process.

And he's right on. Because "policy creep" works both ways, it's essential that manufacturers from all walks continuously look at their representatives' perceptions of manufacturing and their support.

And these bills, regardless of their status as you read this, are part of an ongoing process. For example, while the debate over the moratorium on Internet taxes has been prolonged for two years, two points should be considered: This issue will affect your business in ways you may not perceive now, and the time for your involvement is now, not later.

Contact your representatives. Get involved. Visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov and read these bills and amendments. Tell them what will help and why you're important to listen to.

Participate with your peers through PMPA. Present a united front. If we don't pay attention now—and stay with it—we'll pay in other ways later.