Watertown, NY – New York has lost more than 160,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001, or nearly one-quarter of its manufacturing base. The North Country alone lost more than 3,200 manufacturing jobs. To help New York’s manufactures get back on track and to strengthen the economy for the long term, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today unveiled her plan at a roundtable discussion at Timeless Frames in Watertown to help New York’s manufacturers transition to clean energy production, including legislation to provide grants and tax credits to manufacturers of goods and components that are used in alternative energy projects.
“The loss of manufacturing jobs have hurt New York and hurt America,” Senator Gillibrand said. “New York’s manufacturers powered us through the 20th century, but have been among those hardest hit by these difficult economic times. We cannot rebuild our economy without our manufacturers. I want to see ‘Made in America’ again. That’s why I am working to help put this sector back on track and harness the power of our manufacturing tradition to rebuild and fuel the new economy – creating thousands of new, good-paying jobs right here in New York.”
Every corner of New York State has been crippled by manufacturing job loss. In fact, 52 of New York’s 62 counties have shown significant manufacturing job loss since 2001, with the rest only showing short-term, unsustainable gains. To help New York’s manufacturing sector get back on track and transition to the clean energy producers that will fuel New York’s economy for the long term, Senator Gillibrand unveiled her plan:
1. Transition New York Manufacturers To Clean Energy Production. Senator Gillibrand introduced the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act. The legislation would invest $30 billion for states to establish a Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund – helping small and medium-sized businesses retool, expand or establish homegrown clean energy manufacturing operation. The loans would help existing manufacturers get the capital they need to transition to clean energy production and help get new businesses off the ground.
The IMPACT Act would also invest $1.5 billion over five years for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) – helping manufacturers access clean energy markets and transition to new, innovative, clean energy manufacturing technologies. This would increase the federal share of MEP funding from one-third to one-half.
Between 2000 and 2003 in New York, a network of 10 independent non-profit organizations overseen by NYSTAR – the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation – led MEP programs that helped New York manufacturers create or save 4,154 jobs, and earn $587 million in new revenue, cost savings and capital investments.
America imports 70 percent of our clean energy systems and components. The IMPACT Act would change that and help make New York a leader in the industry, creating thousands of new jobs for the state.
2. Expand Manufacturing Tax Credit. Senator Gillibrand supports the Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act, which would make domestic manufacturing of clean energy technology cheaper by providing companies grants in lieu of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C).
The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) currently provides a 30 percent credit for domestic companies for investments in new, expanded, or reequipped clean energy manufacturing projects. The program is aimed at building capacity to meet this new and growing source of demand. Qualifying facilities manufacture a wide range of clean energy products, including wind turbines, solar panels, hybrid vehicle systems, carbon capture and sequestration systems, and biofuel refinery components, among others. Through this credit, $2.3 billion in federal funds leveraged more than $5.4 billion of private investment that supported the creation of an estimated 17,000 jobs, plus 41,000 jobs through matching private investment.
The SEAM Act would extend the program and allow for grants in lieu of tax credits. This would enable the program to reach additional companies that would otherwise be unable to utilize the program, specifically new companies that do not yet have tax liabilities or companies struggling access credit. Both the tax credit and grant would remain at 30 percent of the cost of the project. The SEAM Act also adjusts the selection criteria to give higher priority to facilities that manufacture, rather than assemble, goods and components in the U.S.
The Department of Energy (DOE) states that the program was more than three times oversubscribed. Nationwide, DOE deemed 418 projects eligible, which amounts to $5.8 billion in unfunded eligible applications. These manufacturers are waiting in the pipeline, ready to break ground soon with the funding.
The SEAM Act also helps restore American’s manufacturing base. By giving priority to U.S. production, the bill would ensure that our U.S. manufacturing base produces all parts in the clean energy supply chain. As clean energy becomes one of the world’s largest industries, forecasted at over $2 trillion annually, clean energy manufacturing provides a significant opportunity for the U.S. to restore its manufacturing base and create good-paying jobs domestically.
3. Support Regional Economic Clusters to Drive Innovation and Entrepreneurship. To grow the economy, businesses must work together and draw on regional strengths that can attract more investment to the area. To foster regional economic growth, Senator Gillibrand is pushing the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act – legislation that would award competitive industry or sector partnership grants from $250,000 to $2.5 million to eligible entities to develop cluster-based economic development strategies. This funding is critical to connecting regional businesses, suppliers, research and development entities, education and training providers, and associated institutions in a particular field to fulfill regional workforce needs and grow regional economies.
From Eastern New York’s Tech Valley to Western New York’s biotech corridor, to New York City’s Bioscience Initiative, the SECTORS Act would provide critical federal investments to some of New York’s most promising regional cluster development projects and lay the foundation for our state’s long term economic strength in the high-tech sector.
Senator Gillibrand is also pushing the Business Incubator Promotion Act, which would provide additional flexibility and funding to support incubators, particularly in areas where there is high unemployment. This ensures that areas that are the most economically distressed and in need of EDA funds have opportunities to receive those funds. It also promotes business incubators by both constructing new incubators and expanding and supporting existing incubators.
Additionally, Senator Gillibrand is calling for a permanent extension to the Research and Development tax credit to spur private investment in research and innovation to grow our high-tech sector for the long term.
4. Retrain NY Workers for Jobs of the Future. To make sure New York’s workforce is prepared for the jobs of the future, Senator Gillibrand introduced legislation that would create partnerships among businesses, colleges and universities to provide worker training opportunities for New York’s students and working adults. The legislation would require the U.S. Labor Secretary to award federal grants to:
- Regional skill alliances that help communities offer worker training opportunities for specific industries; and
- States to help provide the resources that businesses and industry organizations need to support worker skill alliances in every corner of New York.
5. Arm MEP With Resources to Make New York Leader in New Energy Economy. The federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program helps many manufacturers to improve their companies. Senator Gillibrand said the MEP Program has helped 9,881 manufacturing companies in New York over the last ten years and argued that the program is needed now more than ever. Senator Gillibrand is calling for $131.8 million to fully fund the federal MEP program as part of the America COMPETES Act to make sure the program has the resources it needs to transition more New York manufacturers to clean energy production and attract new clean energy manufactures to New York.