Business & Economy
Baucus, Hatch, Grassley Demand China End Intellectual Property Rights Infringement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 08:20

International Trade Commission Report Shows China’s Practices Cost U.S. Billions in Economic Activity, Millions of Jobs 

Washington, DC – May 18, 2011 - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senior Committee Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today demanded an end to China’s violations of U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) that cost the U.S. tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and millions of jobs.  The Senators’ comments follow their release of a report they requested last year from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) quantifying the impact of China’s unfair policies on the American economy and jobs.

“China’s unfair practices cost the U.S. billions of dollars and millions of jobs,” said Baucus. “Time and time again, China has failed to protect and enforce American intellectual property rights, and it continues to discriminate unfairly against American businesses.  We cannot pretend that there aren’t real consequences to these violations when these numbers show that millions of American jobs are on the line.”

 

“American job creators and workers cannot afford to lose $48 billion to Chinese intellectual property piracy.  Our nation plays by the rules – so too must China,” said Hatch. “I hope the report’s findings spur the Administration to deepen their efforts to meet this challenge.”

“China  wants the benefits of an economic relationship with the United States but won’t hold up its end of the bargain,” Grassley said. “Protecting a trading partner’s intellectual property is Trade 101.   When China looks the other way on intellectual property theft, or unfairly favors Chinese-owned firms, it damages its credibility as a trading partner.  The effects on U.S. businesses and workers are real.  This report quantifies how extensive the damage is on the American economy.   It shows the importance of negotiating strong intellectual property protections in trade agreements and enforcing those rights once the agreements are in place.”

According to the ITC report, China’s IPR infringement cost the U.S. economy approximately $48 billion in 2009 alone.  Of that total, more than $26 billion came from the information and service sector and more than $18 billion came from the high-tech and heavy manufacturing sector, in addition to billions more from other sectors.  Although IPR infringement most commonly affects large firms, small and medium-sized firms are also affected.

The ITC report stated that if China complied with their current international obligations to protect and enforce IPR, 2.1 million jobs could be created in the U.S.  The most direct jobs impact would come in high-tech, innovative industries.

China’s discriminatory indigenous innovation policies, the report said, also give preferential support to Chinese companies in a manner that may lead to additional U.S. job losses.  For example, the Chinese wind power market is skewed in favor of Chinese-owned firms to an extent that has dramatically reduced the market share belonging to foreign-owned companies.  China places local-content requirements on new wind farm construction that effectively locks foreign firms out of new contracts.  The Chinese government has not awarded a wind farm contract to a foreign-owned firm since 2005.

The report the Senators released today is the second in a pair they requested from the ITC. The first report, released in December 2010, outlined the structural and institutional impediments that undermine IPR enforcement and described China’s indigenous innovation policies that discriminate against American companies.

The Senate Finance Committee has exclusive jurisdiction over international trade.  The full ITC report is available here.

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Braley Calls on Boehner to Repeal Tax Breaks for Big Oil PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Thursday, 12 May 2011 07:27

Washington, DC – May 11, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, calling on him to repeal tax subsidies for big oil companies. Rep. Braley urged Speaker Boehner to bring a bill to the House Floor that would repeal oil subsidies at a time when oil companies are making record profits but gas prices are skyrocketing at the pump.

"I was pleased to read Speaker Boehner’s recent statements acknowledging that eliminating tax subsidies for big oil companies is ‘something we should be looking at’ and I'm glad that other members of the Republican party such as Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Charles

Grassley have also questioned whether these types of subsidies areappropriate,” said Rep. Braley. “It seems clear that the push to end oil tax subsidies now has bipartisan political support. And I think it’s past due time to bring a bill to the House Floor that would repeal big oil's tax breaks.”

A CNN poll released earlier this week shows that 9 in 10 Americansblame big oil companies for the recent spike in gas prices.

A copy of Rep. Braley’s letter is available here: http://go.usa.gov/j1C

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STATE FARM ANNOUNCES COST-EFFECTIVE BUILDING CONSOLIDATION PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Missy Lundberg   
Monday, 09 May 2011 14:32

May 9, 2011 – State Farm announced today a statewide facilities plan that will maximize building efficiencies throughout a three-state area. In Illinois, two operations centers in Bloomington and Downers Grove will remain open, while ten field offices across the state will consolidate to remaining offices in Illinois and Indiana. Some employees will stay in local mobile-worker roles. Local agent’s offices and State Farm’s Corporate Headquarters, also located in Bloomington, are not part of this announcement.

The announcement is the result of a study analyzing office space capacity and will allow State Farm to utilize technology while gaining operational efficiencies. The company will sell or end leases at the following ten offices over the next few years: Marion, Collinsville, Springfield, Champaign, Peoria, Moline, Rockford, Elmhurst, Tinley Park and Arlington Heights, Illinois.

“It’s our responsibility to our customers and associates to make sure we continually evaluate our business operations to remain competitive in today’s marketplace” says Cathy Wallace, State Farm Operations Vice President based in Bloomington. “Technology allows us to improve our efficiency and reduce facility related expenses while at the same time enhance service to our customers.”

As part of today’s Great Lakes Zone announcement, State Farm will be consolidating field operations from nine to two offices in Indiana and also nine to two offices in Michigan.  These announcements do not affect any of the approximately 1,040 State Farm Agents offices in communities throughout Illinois.

 
Andrzejewski, Morthland Announce “We’re Spent” Agenda PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katie Vallen   
Monday, 09 May 2011 14:27
Grassroots Leader Pushes Spending Reforms in Springfield to Reverse Bad Budget Cycle


MOLINE – With state government struggling to find a way out of its budget malaise, the leader of a statewide grassroots organization today teamed with a key state lawmaker on a package of commonsense ideas to enact spending reforms in Illinois. Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and Founder of For the Good of Illinois, outlined his “We’re Spent” message in the Quad Cities as he pushes an ambitious legislative agenda that would fix some longtime problems with the state budget.

Andrzejewski teamed with state Rep. Rich Morthland outside Morthland’s Moline district office to explain why the pillars of his public policy agenda respond aggressively to the feeling by many Illinoisans that “We’re Spent” highlighting the lack of action in reining in state spending. The reforms the grassroots leader proposes will get the state back on solid financial footing, both this year and going forward.

For the Good of Illinois Legislative Agenda

·       PayGo Budgeting (House Bill 111): This concept is very simple yet very effective: Don’t spend more money than you bring in. PAYGO restores sensibility to budgeting. If you want to spend more, you need to cut that exact amount to offset that spending increase. Families and businesses do it all the time, so should government.

·       New purchasing for universities (House Bill 89): This measure ensures better overall oversight of how state universities spend their money by creating a universal purchasing system – key at a time when several continue to raise tuition on incoming students, in some cases significantly.

·       Meaningful spending caps (Senate Bill 36): This measure provides real, meaningful spending caps on our budget by limiting spending to 1.5 percent annual increases.

“All across Illinois, citizens say ‘We’re spent’ – they’re tired of more tax-and-spend politics driving the agenda. My plan shifts the conversation to how we can better spend our money – keep costs reasonable and always make sure we have enough money to pay the bills. That’s the only way we’ll ever get back on track in Illinois. I hope lawmakers embrace these good ideas and will work to get them approved this spring for a better Illinois,” Andrzejewski said.

“Adam is dead on with the ‘We’re Spent’ agenda. We can’t keep ignoring what’s putting us in these huge money holes year after year. I gladly join Adam and several colleagues in strongly supporting these initiatives and will work hard over these next weeks to get them approved in Springfield,” Morthland said.

About For The Good of Illinois
For the Good of Illinois is a nonprofit organization promoting self-governance in Illinois by engaging, educating and empowering citizens to demand limited, accountable and transparent government of, by, and for the people. Adam Andrzejewski is the CEO and Founder. For more information, please visit www.ForTheGoodofIllinois.org.


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Iowans Talk Gas Prices and National Debt PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 09 May 2011 14:02

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Unlike Congress, families in Iowa can’t spend more money than they bring in year after year.  At least not without facing grave financial problems.

Unlike Congress, Iowans can’t increase their paychecks by passing a law to boost their income.  On the contrary, the big spenders in Washington would like to pass laws that would decrease taxpayers’ take-home pay by raising taxes.

When rising gas prices squeeze household budgets, Iowans need to figure out where to spend less to make up for the shortfall.  They don’t have the luxury of a blank check co-signed by Uncle Sam to pay for basic necessities or splurging on items they can’t afford.

Visiting one-third of Iowa’s counties during a two-week road trip in April, I met face-to-face with more than 1,000 Iowans to answer questions and address issues that matter most to their families, communities and way of life.

In county after county, a sweeping majority of Iowans expressed overriding concern about keeping energy affordable.  Filling up the gas tank week after week is eating up a bigger share of family incomes, increasing transportation costs for schools, farms and businesses, and squeezing profitability and savings month after month.

Policymakers and consumers need to use sticker shock at the pump as a catalyst to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.  The United States sends more than $400 billion each year overseas for foreign oil.  Now more than ever, the United States needs to ramp up domestic production of traditional energy -- including oil, natural gas, and coal -- and expand alternative fuels and renewable energy -- including wind, solar, hydropower, biomass and geothermal.  Consumers can help lead the way through conservation and choosing energy-efficient appliances, hybrid vehicles and alternative fuels.  Congress needs to keep energy security on the front burner in Washington.

In the U.S. Senate, I have long championed American agriculture for its capacity to help feed a growing world population.  My work also shaped public policy to give Rural America the opportunity to serve as a domestic, renewable energy resource to help displace oil imports, create jobs, grow green energy, increase competition, and strengthen U.S. energy and national security.

America imports more than 60 percent of our oil.  The U.S. Treasury pays out an average $84 billion a year to defend the shipping lanes by which foreign oil reaches the United States.  Those who want to isolate ethanol’s federal tax incentives and put them on the chopping block need to remember the massive tax breaks the oil and gas industries have received each year for the last 100 years.  There’s an effort under way in the Senate to end ethanol’s federal tax incentives, even as oil and gas tax breaks would remain untouched. Policymakers in the United States should not be legislating to slow down domestic energy production.  Killing ethanol’s tax incentives would cost U.S. jobs, increase our dependence on foreign oil, increase prices at the pump for U.S. consumers, and keep OPEC’s stranglehold on the U.S. economy.

This week I introduced legislation that lays out a fiscally responsible path forward for the ethanol sector.  No one else in the energy field has come forward in a similar way, but I hope my legislation starts a trend.  Today, ethanol is the only source of alternative energy that’s substantially reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.  Going forward, the sky’s the limit as we move to the next generation of advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol.

The mid-term elections in November sent a signal to Washington to stop overspending.  Iowans who attended my town meetings in April asked what can be done to rein in deficit spending.  Washington can’t afford to spend 24.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (and that’s what’s projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office for fiscal 2011) alongside two-percent economic growth without saddling future generations with a legacy of debt.

A divided government in Washington must work together to address chronic deficits and a $14 trillion national debt.  Simplifying the federal tax code would help promote compliance and trigger stronger economic growth, investment and job creation.  I support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require a balanced federal budget just as 46 of the 50 states require.  I don’t support raising taxes to balance the budget.  It doesn’t work.  Right now, Washington spends $1.68 for every dollar it collects in taxes.  Since World War II, the government has spent $1.17, on average, every time Congress has raised taxes by $1.

At my town meetings, Iowans asked for measurable belt-tightening in Washington.  I’ll be working to make it happen as Congress debates raising the debt ceiling and approving the federal budget for fiscal 2012.  The Senate Budget Committee is expected to get to work next week.  The budget resolution deserves a rigorous debate and one that takes place in a transparent manner. As a member of the Budget Committee, I intend to do what I can to make that happen.

Friday, May 6, 2011

 
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