July 23, 2012

Manchin votes to provide tax incentives for business who move back to United States | The Hagerstown Herald-Mail

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.— While “really proud” to have Macy’s new distribution facility in West Virginia, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said last week that he would love more of the giant retailer’s products to be manufactured here, too.

A day after taking part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 1.3-million-square-foot Macy’s facility in Berkeley County, Manchin, D-W.Va., and U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., voted Thursday for legislation that would have provided tax incentives to encourage businesses to move their overseas operations back to the United States. 

The measure ultimately failed to pass, but Manchin said he hopes the Chinese-made U.S. Olympic team uniform “fiasco” brings heightened attention to address the need to create more manufacturing jobs.

“How in the world have we’ve gotten to the point that we can’t even clothe our own Olympians representing the United States of America with something made in America?” Manchin said Wednesday after taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“I think that (the Olympic uniform issue) might be the catalyst that we need to really spur this on. We’re hoping for that,” Manchin said.

Macy’s new online fulfillment center in Cumbo Yard Industrial Park near Martinsburg was built to handle customers along the East Coast who place orders via macys.com and bloomingdales.com.

A general search Friday for “made in USA” products on the Macy’s website netted 3,202 items available for purchase on the website, which featured more than 30,000 items for women alone. 

A similar “made in USA” search on the Bloomingdale’s website netted 2,890 items while there were more 20,000 items for women.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in a separate interview Wednesday, readily agreed there is a need for more manufacturing in the United States. 

“Obviously, (manufacturing is) a bottom line business ... we got to do it by keeping taxes low and making us competitive worldwide,” said Capito, who also indicated energy and health care costs have to be contained.

Capito said she also doesn’t like the fact that the Olympic team uniforms were made in China.

“I can’t believe it got ... to this point before somebody waved a red flag,” Capito said. “But you know what, I want our Olympic team to do well with no distractions, so hopefully, they’ll solve this problem and next time, we won’t have to be talking about that.”

When asked Friday about the Bring American Jobs Home Act endorsed by Rockefeller and Manchin, Capito spokesperson Jamie Corley said that one piece of legislation would not fix the problem.

“The congresswoman supports a broad plan that includes making the tax code fairer and simpler, removing unnecessary regulation that weighs down businesses, keeping health care costs in check without a government takeover of the health care system and harnessing American energy resources,” Corley said. Had the legislation been enacted, businesses would have been given a 20 percent tax credit on all insourcing expenses they experience as they shut down a unit overseas and move it back or expand in the United States as long as moving operations would increase domestic employment, according to a news release from Manchin’s office. 

The legislation also proposed the elimination of tax benefits for businesses that are moving their operations overseas, according to the release.

Manchin cited statistics that indicate West Virginia lost more than 20,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector and 3,000 information technology jobs between 2002 and 2012.

Rockefeller, who co-sponsored the bill, said in a news release that the proposed legislation makes “good sense.”

“I’m disappointed the bill didn’t pass, but I will keep fighting for West Virginia’s workers and families,” Rockefeller said.

By:  Matthew Umstead