U.S. Senator Rob Portman, wearing jeans, wrapped up his Ohio Auto Manufacturing Jobs Tour in Marysville on Friday. Portman was in town to tour Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant. Above, Portman speaks with MAP Plant Manager Rob May.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman was in Marysville on Friday, extolling the virtues of the 2018 Honda Accord, as well as manufacturing in the area.
“It’s an exciting time for this plant and for Ohio because we’ve got new products coming on, people being hired, movement in the right direction,” he said.
Portman, who in April toured the Transportation Research Center with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, said the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has renewed its lease with TRC to house the administration’s vehicle research and test center.
“That is really big,” Portman said. “That is important that it came together.”
The visit to Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant completed Portman’s Ohio Auto Manufacturing Jobs Tour, a three-day swing through the Buckeye state that included stops at a variety of auto manufacturing facilities.
“It’s great to be at Honda today,” Portman said after touring the assembly plant, watching production of the 2018 Accord, and meeting with Honda leadership and employees.
Company officials brought a 2018 Accord for him to look at. Before he left, the Senator shot a promotional video for the car. “which I hope is going to sell like hotcakes, because it’s made right here in Marysville, Ohio.”
Portman stressed that on his tour of Ohio, “the single most impressive thing is the workforce,” specifically citing the Marysville Auto Plant.
Portman said he has visited the plan multiple times and, “almost inside it is almost entirely different.”
He said there is “much more robotic, automation.” Additionally, he said the company recently invested $220 million and announced it will add 300 jobs at the plant.
Portman credited Honda with training and retaining the stable workforce that has made the Accord a consistent top seller.
Portman said he wants to “raise awareness for the economic impact of the automotive industry in our state, and discuss how tax reform will benefit auto manufacturers.”
Portman is Co-Chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, which according to information from Portman’s office “provides a forum to exchange ideas and influence policy on issues affecting America’s auto industry, such as tax reform, trade, transportation and technology.”
He said he is a “strong supporter and advocate for Ohio’s auto industry.”
Portman stressed that Ohio is the second largest producer of vehicles in the country. He said more than 108,000 Ohioans are employed through the auto industry which he said “contributes over $13 billion annually to Ohio’s economy.”
“With Ohio’s vast manufacturing supply chain, competitive energy costs, and cutting edge research, Ohio is well positioned to continue to be a leader in automotive manufacturing,” he said.
Portman said he discussed the tax code with Honda officials.
“Right now the tax code is so outdated that it is a disadvantage to be located in the United States,” Portman said.
He said the U.S. has the highest tax rate in the industrialized world so “tax reform makes a lot of sense.”
“If we can get this tax reform done, it will bring more investment here, more jobs here and will help to make this plant more competitive,” Portman said.
He said that in addition to helping the company and the plant be more competitive, tax reform will help the employees. Portman said wages have been stagnant for almost 15 years while the cost of living has increased.
“The middle class squeeze is very real and I can’t think of anything better than tax reform to address that,” Portman said.
He said that in addition to more investment, more jobs and better salaries, the tax reform package would offer, “a little tax relief so the family budget is a little healthier.”
He said that while the proposal is still being put together, it will include an increased child tax credit as well as a doubled standard deduction.
“It lets people know that if they work hard and play by the rules, they can get ahead,” Portman said.
He said the simplified tax code would allow for economic growth and provide middle class tax relief.
“From my point of view, this is not about helping the wealthy. They are doing fine,” Portman said. “It is about helping small businesses and it is about helping to ensure that we can be competitive so we can create more jobs and have higher wages. And it is about helping the middle class at a time when the middle class squeeze is very real.”
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