Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kansas Democratic leaders propose ‘Buy American’ law

October 25, 2012


— Democrats in the Kansas Legislature proposed a "Buy American" law Thursday to require state agencies to use U.S.-manufactured goods in public works projects.

The proposal, announced by Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka and House Minority Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence, comes less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election. The two leaders said the goal is to spur growth in manufacturing jobs.

The massive income tax cuts, championed by Gov. Sam Brownback and fellow conservative Republicans, were enacted with a similar goal of stimulating the economy and creating new jobs.

Hensley and Davis outlined their jobs proposal during a news conference at the headquarters of a local auto workers' union in Kansas City, Kan. They scheduled similar events in Topeka and Wichita on Thursday and promised that Democrats will pursue the measure during the next legislative session, which convenes in January.

"As one of the leading purchasers of manufactured goods, the state of Kansas wields significant power," Davis said in a statement. "It's time to harness that power and put it to good use."

Manufacturing represents a major segment of the Kansas economy, accounting for about 166,400 jobs in September, or 12 percent of the state's 1.35 million non-farm jobs, according to the state Department of Labor.

Brownback's allies hope that conservative Republicans emerge from this year's elections with control of both chambers. Republicans have majorities of 32-8 in the Senate and 92-33 in the House, but GOP moderates had retained control in the Senate.

Conservatives succeeded in ousting eight moderate Republican senators in August primary races and are now looking to defeat Democratic incumbents this fall, including Hensley. Earlier this month, the anti-tax, small government group Americans for Prosperity praised GOP candidates in mailers for supporting a "job recovery agenda" that includes "lower tax cuts for every Kansas family."

The reductions enacted this year lower individual income tax rates for 2013 and include a drop in the top tax rate to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent. The state also will exempt the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from paying individual income taxes.

Legislative researchers have projected that the reductions will lower taxes by $4.5 billion over the next six years, but Democrats view them as reckless because the researchers also project collective budget shortfalls approaching $2.5 billion during the same period.

Hensley and Davis said that Democrats also have "worked tirelessly" to create jobs. Last year, they proposed a 14-point plan that included expanding legalized gambling to help fund programs to train unemployed workers, repair infrastructure and help small businesses.

Their latest proposal would require state agencies to use American goods in building and other public works projects, exempting them from the requirement only if such goods are not readily available or would increase the cost of a project by more than 25 percent.


booklover2 5 years, 6 months ago

This is a great idea, but good luck with that. It is hard to find anything that is made in America these days.

James MacMurray 5 years, 6 months ago

Maybe they could also stipulate Buy American for the fuel that is consumed in governmental vehicles?

These proposals always sound like great "rah rah" American type things but their practical implementation leads to one thing: higher costs. So wealth is transferred from the great many of taxpayers to the selected few that want to provide a product at a non-competitive price but get the sale nonetheless because of favorable legislation.

Pepe 5 years, 6 months ago

Terrible idea that will likely end up costing taxpayers more. Sounds like the dems just want to use taxpayer money to give a kickback to their union buddies.

Orwell 5 years, 6 months ago

Glad you're so fond of billionaire outsourcers instead of American working men and women.

labmonkey 5 years, 6 months ago

They should pass the Buy American law, as should the federal government. If they are going to spend taxpayer money, the least they could do is purchase from a taxpayer.

hyperinflate 5 years, 6 months ago

Agreed with jmacmurr. These ideas are impossible to implement. After all, do the component parts all have to be made in America also? What about the parts of the component parts? Do the underlying raw materials have to be mined here?

Not to mention they do lead to less competition, which usually equals higher prices.

Armstrong 5 years, 6 months ago

Having dealt with "buy domestic" in the past basically means assembled. Components can be foreign or at least a percentage but final assembly must be domestic. The article really doesn't go into great detail about the proposal but that has been my past experience.

Armstrong 5 years, 6 months ago

Not any longer. Buyers have actually gotten closer to real world costs and specs.

Armstrong 5 years, 6 months ago

That's pretty much gone by the way side

Armstrong 5 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever tried to bid anything on this it's cutthroat

Orwell 5 years, 6 months ago

Or compete, save money and keep the dollars in the country. Or should we assume, like you, that all American companies are irresponsible, conspiring in restraint of trade? If so, there are laws against it. In China it's almost official policy.

5 years, 6 months ago

I have no problem with the law, but I believe that NAFTA or WTO might be in the way. I seem to remember that Dems pushed the same sort of thing during the stimulus debates and that such requirements were deemed in violation of our "free trade" obligations. I'm certainly open to correction on that, however.

As good or bad as the idea may be, I can't believe that such a transparent election ploy was deemed worthy of a news article. How many legislative sessions has Hensley been through without introducing it?

Orwell 5 years, 6 months ago

It's every bit as substantive as a certain "five-point plan" for the economy.

George Lippencott 5 years, 6 months ago

So we increase the costs of everything state government does by 25% - paid by the people of Kansas. Of course I suspect most of what we do is already done with domestic products.and this is another feel good proposal.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 6 months ago

This is the problem with the two democrats. Looking for government solutions. This populist BS isn't going to create anything. An environment that creates private sector small business opportunity is going to create jobs not increased government regulations that is being proposed by these two tax loving junkies.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

Well, a more appropriate question to ask him is would he rather pay $1 to a Chinese worker or $2 to an American union worker for the same product?

But what if there were other options, like paying $1.50 to an American non union worker? Or how about paying $2 if the worker was here in Kansas? I might be willing to pay twice as much if the worker was here in Kansas, but not if it was a union worker in Portland, Maine or Oregon.

t42d 5 years, 6 months ago

This proposal sound good, but it's missing some very important points. 1. Products with too minimal failure-rate built in that's forced you to repetitive buying of the same product.. 2. American products manufactured with longivity encourages repeat purchases. We seem to be in a "throw-away" system. Use it for a short while and throw it away. 3. The quality of manufactured products are extremely important to establish a purchase rate in this economy. When we are faced with "extended warranties", "good, better, best". The manufacturer is silently telling you, you will have to replace it (probably in a short period of time) and that the product has a substantial window of failure. In other words, they're selling products with a short life. Is this what we truly want in American Products? To compete with the foreighn market, we need to produce a superior product than the competition, built in and by Americans and reasonably priced, but competitively priced. We need to create a demand for our quality built products and build them here.

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