MFG Advocate …

Are you in a state of opportunity?

By  Penny Brown, MTAdvocacy Manager

While the federal government has been doing a fair amount of work to boost the fortunes of U.S. manufacturing, there are also a number of state initiatives aimed at strengthening the industry. Here are a few recent ones that have been in the news:

Virginia: In AMT’s home state, Henrico County has a plan to slash the county’s machinery and tools tax by 70 percent. While the county will lose out on short-term revenue, the hope is that the short-term loss will be outweighed by long-term gains in attracting lucrative new manufacturing jobs. “We are competing for jobs in the world market now,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “And we aim to not just compete, but to win.”

Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf has said that increasing the number of manufacturing jobs in his state is one of his top economic priorities, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is. His proposed 2015-16 state budget includes $5 million set aside for a new tax credit that would go to manufacturing companies that add jobs in the state. 

Wolf’s Made in Pennsylvania Job Creation Program is modeled after a similar program in Oklahoma that has spurred creation of over half a million jobs since launching in 1993. To qualify for the Pennsylvania program, a company would need to increase their annual taxable payroll by at least $1 million, and the jobs must be full-time, include health insurance, and pay at least as much as the average local wage. The company would also be required to keep the jobs for at least five years.

Tennessee: The Volunteer State is hoping to capitalize on the increased manufacturing activity that has been coming its way in recent years. Its new RevV! Initiative will help the state’s manufacturers connect with resources at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to increase their ability to innovate and overcome their most difficult manufacturing challenges. 

In an editorial appearing in the (Nashville) Tennessean, Randy Boyd, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and Thom Mason, President and CEO of UT-Battele LLC, said that manufacturers can apply online and describe their technical challenges. ORNL will determine if it has the capabilities to identify potential solutions. Program details are available at

North Dakota: With crude prices plunging dramatically, oil-rich North Dakota is looking for ways to diversify its economy through encouraging partnerships between oil producers and manufacturers. By attracting manufacturers to set up local operations, oil producers could then have their pumps, valves, and other components made and repaired locally, therefore shortening the supply chain while also attracting good jobs to the region.

Tell Us What’s Happening in Your State: Meanwhile, a host of other state and regional manufacturing initiatives are taking shape every day. The MFG Advocate wants to hear about them. Which are successful and how many are a waste of taxpayer dollars? Are you taking part in or advocating for any of these programs? Your stories can help make or break the debate. Contact AMT’s Advocacy team to share your story.

Contact me at, and check out AMT’s Advocacy blog at