The Taylor Report by Sen. TaylorCreating local jobs by buying American
Sen. Taylor represents Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. This is week seven in the legislative session.
We are now halfway through the 2013 legislative session. We’ve had several busy weeks of work at the Capitol to make sure initiatives to grow Iowa’s middle class will move forward.
This week marks what’s known as the “first funnel.” That means most bills must have been approved by a committee in the House or Senate in order to be eligible for further consideration this session.
A bill we are working on in my Economic Growth Committee will help create jobs through a “buy American” concept. Whenever our tax dollars are spent, they should create jobs here, not overseas.
Many of Iowa’s roads, bridges, schools, water and sewage systems, and other critical infrastructure need to be repaired.
As we do what must be done, Iowa and American companies should have the first crack at state and local government construction contracts. And when it comes to these projects, the steel, iron and other manufactured materials should be made in America, not imported from overseas factories.
Iowa should adopt the same “buy American” laws the federal government has used for more than 80 years—laws that were expanded by President Reagan to cover highway and transit projects.
Unfortunately, loopholes and special interest exemptions have weakened “buy American” laws regarding public spending.
Senate File 70, approved by the Economic Growth Committee, would help by requiring contracts for public improvements to use U.S.-produced iron, steel and manufactured goods.
The requirement may be waived if it is not in the public interest, the American products are not available in sufficient quantities or the cost of the contract would increase by more than 5 percent.
I don’t believe Iowa tax dollars should be used to reward companies that move jobs to foreign countries, or benefit foreign manufacturers who ignore worker safety and environmental standards.
Iowa law should have a clear, reasonable, common-sense preference for American-made products when they are available and cost-competitive.