December 16, 2014
By Stephanie West
Trenton, New Jersey – A 'Buy America' bill is anticipated to pass the New Jersey Assembly with a companion bill expected covering bi-state agencies. The next step is for Governor Chris Christie to sign this legislation that would allow domestic manufacturers to realistically compete for government contracts.
This New Jersey legislation would level the playing field with foreign manufacturers. U.S. Corporation are not able to compete for many government projects since foreign governments underwrite losses of companies in their countries. Foreign companies regularly underbid U.S. competitors. That’s how $1.2 billion worth of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey steel contracts for the Bayonne Bridge went to an Italian company and not to ready-and-willing steelmakers here in the Northeast.
“‘Buy America’ laws create jobs for American workers and promote investment in our country,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, who has testified in support of the legislation. “Adding manufacturing jobs here in New Jersey would be a tremendous help to industries hit very hard by the recession and the thousands of workers who have not been able to find new jobs.”
“New Jersey would need to add 64,000 manufacturing jobs just to return to 2001 levels,” Wowkanech added. “No one would argue that the loss of all those middle-class jobs has been good for the state’s economy.”
Provisions in the bill allow waivers if a material is prohibitively expensive at home or if it is unavailable. Because of those stipulations, “Buy America” rules won’t have taxpayers overpaying for products or cause delays in completion of projects.