I am heartened to see that some government agencies are showing they understand the importance of propping up domestic manufacturing, including the wood products industry.

In recent weeks we have posted a handful of news items illustrating how some states and local economic development agencies are taking a proactive approach to help bring wood products businesses – and jobs – their way.
The most recent example is Kitchen Magic’s return to Pennsylvania after a 28-year hiatus of manufacturing their products in New Jersey. Kitchen Magic worked with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., which in turn worked with the Governor’s Action Team, to develop a list of benefits that paved the way for a new 62,000-square-foot facility. Here’s what helped lure Kitchen Magic back to the Keystone State:

• a $400,000 opportunity grant;

• a $650,000 loan from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund;

• $48,150 in job training assistance, and

• $378,000 in job creation tax credits.

Next Up, Mississippi
Then there’s the state of Mississippi. Gov. Haley Barbour recently signed legislation that will provide a $2,000 tax credit for each new cut-and-sew employee hired.

It’s an interesting incentive geared toward propping up what remains a vital and strong upholstered furniture industry in Missisissippi. In fact, Lane Furniture took advantage and hired 186 workers.
Next comes the reopening of the PenPly plywood plant in Port Angeles, WA. The state of Washington and local authorities came up with a package of incentives to attract new owners to bring a shuttered plywood plant in Port Angeles back to life.

The types of incentives offered was amply illustrated in a rebate of more than $51,000 to the plant for energy efficiency.

The Bottom Line
This is far from a comprehensive list of what is happening around the country to aid wood products manufacturing. I can't help but wonder: Are you getting your fair share? Have you checked with your state and local officials about what they might be able to do for you to be more competitive and retain or grow jobs?
If your area is not doing more to nurture manufacturing, then you might want to sniff around and see what if anything is being offered in the next county or the next state.

I’d love to hear about what programs your company has been able to qualify for or what frustrations you have encountered in seeking relief.

Post your comment now or e-mail me at rchristianson@vancepublishing.com.

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