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The Manufacturing Leadership Council Issues Recommendations to Lawmakers to Avoid the 'Fiscal Cliff'

The group of 5,000 senior manufacturing executives urges the President and Congress to take action to sustain the nation's economic momentum and safeguard a healthy manufacturing sector

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC), an organization of senior executives committed to creating a better future for the industry, today urged President Obama and Congressional leaders to avoid the Fiscal Cliff by embracing a series of MLC recommendations that will help ensure economic prosperity in the years ahead.

The manufacturing industry has played a key role in fueling the nation's recovery from the depths of the recent Great Recession—by increasing productivity and innovation, aggressively seeking out emerging markets, and investing in capital equipment and breakthrough technologies. The Fiscal Cliff that now faces the country threatens to undo the gains that U.S. manufacturers have fought for over the past four years. Manufacturers already have seen orders fall, as customers in the U.S. and overseas pull back, due in large part to uncertainty raised by the Fiscal Cliff. As growth slows, manufacturers have had to postpone hiring and capital investments, undermining the nation's economic momentum.

"The Manufacturing Leadership Council is deeply concerned that the impasse in Washington over so-called Fiscal Cliff tax and spending policies could lead to serious economic consequences, including another recession that could damage not only the U.S. economy but the global economy as well, " said David R. Brousell, Vice President and Editorial Director for the MLC. "Given manufacturing's central role in the economy, the MLC is determined to help find a way forward."

Last Thursday, the MLC held a special, open meeting of its members as well as other companies and organizations in the manufacturing industry to discuss and devise recommendations on specific tax and spending policies to avoid the Fiscal Cliff.

The recommendations, which have been sent to President Obama and key members of the Senate and House leadership, are:

* The President and Congressional leaders must negotiate in good faith and with urgency to reach an agreement to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. MLC members favor a comprehensive agreement that addresses entitlement-program cost reductions in a way that sustains these programs over the long term, as well as increased taxes for high-income individuals.

* Policy-makers should look to limit the impact of tax increases on small and mid-sized, family-owned manufacturing companies, which are frequently taxed at individual, rather than corporate tax rates due to their status as S corporations or partnerships.

* Policy-makers should extend the payroll tax cut in order to avoid burdening middle-class families and increasing the likelihood of another recession.

* Policy-makers should increase the bonus depreciation on tangible property and retract the proposed changes to eliminate Safe Harbor for Routine Maintenance. Forcing manufacturers to depreciate these assets over extended periods reduces their incentive to invest in equipment that increases competitiveness and productivity, and reduces the production of large capital equipment.

* Policy-makers should make permanent the Research and Development Tax Credits that are due to expire. These tax credits are the single most-effective element of government's industrial policy, encouraging manufacturers to invest in new technologies that improve productivity and stimulate the economy.

* Policy-makers should avoid reductions in military spending, as such spending supports manufacturing and innovation.

* Policy-makers should allow extended unemployment benefits to expire. This would encourage more qualified workers to seek employment sooner rather than waiting for benefits to run out. However, Council members would welcome extended unemployment benefits in exchange for comprehensive reforms in entitlement spending.

* Specific, scheduled reductions in entitlement spending must be part of the Fiscal Cliff agreement. Policy-makers can no longer defer action on these important reforms, which are needed to reduce government spending and restore confidence in the economy. Among other reforms, policy-makers should consider raising the cap on Social Security withholding, and gradually extending the age for Social Security eligibility.

The MLC encourages other members of the manufacturing community and the nation to raise their voice to help protect the industry's vital role in economic prosperity. For more information, visit www.Manufacturing-Executive.com and www.ManufacturingLeadershipCouncil.com.

About the Manufacturing Leadership Council

The Manufacturing Leadership Council, a unit of Frost & Sullivan, offers an integrated portfolio of leadership networking, information, and professional development products, programs, and services for industrial executives worldwide. The Manufacturing Leadership Council's mission is to help senior executives define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations, and the industry at large. The Manufacturing Leadership Council's integrated portfolio consists of the Manufacturing Executive website, an online global business network; the Manufacturing Leadership Council, an invitation-only executive organization; the annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit conference; the Manufacturing Leadership 100 Awards program; and the Manufacturing Leadership Journal. For more information, visit http://www.manufacturing-executive.com/index.jspa

Manufacturing Leadership Council members include representatives from companies such as Advanced Micro Devices, AT&T, Baxter Healthcare, Campbell Soup Company, Cisco Systems, Colgate Palmolive, Cummins, Dell, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Eaton, Ford, General Dynamics, Graphicast, Kennametal, Kohler, Lion-Vallen Industries, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Owens Corning, Procter & Gamble, S&S Hinge Company, Steinwall, Inc., and VirTex Assembly Services.

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