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Sherrod B.
Democrat OH

About Sen. Sherrod
  • Nomination of Roy K.J. Williams to Be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

    by Senator Sherrod Brown

    Posted on 2014-05-14

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    BROWN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Blumenthal). Without objection, it is so ordered.

    EXPIRE Act Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to pass the tax extenders package that the Senate Finance Committee put forward which would reinstate a number of tax provisions to help with job creation and to especially help homeowners and workers get back on their feet.

    Yesterday I spoke to United Egg Producers which consists of a group of many family farmers and some larger farmers. My State is No. 2 in the country in egg production, second only to the State of Iowa. I talked to Tom Hertzfeld, Jr., and his son Jordan, who are third and fourth generation egg farmers in Grand Rapids, OH, a community not too far from Toledo in northwest Ohio.

    The farm has been in the family since 1959. They produce about 100,000 dozen eggs every day. It is a technical business. The eggs go from the chicken to [[Page S3017]] the carton and then into the customers' hands. The production equipment requires major investment. So when farmers like Tom need to buy new equipment, build new barns, and acquire more property, they should be able to accelerate their writeoffs. Bonus depreciation and section 179 gives our small businesses the capital to invest in tools that are important for them to expand, hire people, and make their communities more prosperous.

    As we help existing businesses expand, we need to focus on reviving industries, especially manufacturing. We know wealth is created when we make it, mine it or grow it. We do all three of those in a significant way in my State. Ohio is the Nation's third largest manufacturing State, only behind California, which is three times our population, and Texas, which is twice our population.

    The new markets tax credit will help revitalize communities hit hard by shuttered factories by leveraging tens of billions of dollars in private investments. We know what the new markets tax credit has done for development in areas that are generally a little poorer than most. We want to be able to target manufacturing too, and that is what our Manufacturing Communities Investment Act does. Last year, for instance, in Portage County, the community of Streetsboro lost 300 jobs after Commercial Turf Products shut its doors. Under the Manufacturing Communities Investment Act, the city could access financing to bring new manufacturing businesses back to Streetsboro.

    For those workers who have lost their jobs and benefits, the health coverage tax credit, or the HCTC, needs to be extended. The HCTC preserves a program that Ohioans--such as the Delphi salaried retirees who worked hard and played by the rules--know, understand, and trust.

    Extending the tax credit for 2 years is fiscally responsible. We should improve the HCTC and make it permanent, as I have proposed in the legislation that I have introduced with Senators Rockefeller, Stabenow, Hirono, and Donnelly. At the very least we should renew this critical tax credit.

    Earlier this year I traveled across Ohio and met with homeowners such as Hattie Wilkins from Youngstown, OH. She was laid off, fell behind on her mortgage, and began the foreclosure process. Her bank--because it was in their interest too--forgave the $35,000 she still owed, but Hattie and thousands of homeowners across the country face higher taxes if we don't move to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act.

    In many ways it is a phantom income. If it is a short sale or they get a principal reduction--as I was discussing with Ohio realtors today--the homeowners never really get the money for it, but they are hit with the tax bill as if they had gotten that income. We have extended this tax forgiveness, if you will, in the past because Members of both parties recognize there is still a critical need for it.

    All of these items--as part of the tax extenders package--help create jobs, put money in homeowners' pockets, pay for health insurance, and allow people to stay in their homes. As I said, it also creates jobs and is good for our communities. It is important that we pass the tax extenders package as soon as possible in this Chamber.

    I note the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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