Brown pushes loan fund to boost Ohio manufacturing

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Brown pushes loan fund to boost Ohio manufacturing

Columbus Business First – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is hoping a new report on the potential jobs impact of legislation he authored creating a manufacturing industry loan fund bolsters the measure’s chances of becoming a reality.

Determining just how the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology, or IMPACT, act will clear both chambers of Congress is the next crucial step.

A report issued Wednesday by Columbus public policy group Policy Matters Ohio says the IMPACT legislation Brown, D-Ohio, unveiled last year could directly and indirectly spur the creation of more than 52,0000 jobs in the state over the next decade.

The legislation creates a $30 billion revolving loan fund for manufacturers with 500 or fewer employees that can be used to buy or retool capital to make products for the growing renewable energy trade. The Policy Matters report bases its job-creation projections on the prospect of Ohio putting to use $1 billion this year and next year with a 20 percent match from non-federal sources.

Brown said he’s pushing for the legislation because of the possibilities it opens up for the state’s struggling manufacturing base. Manufacturing employment in the state plunged 15 percent last year, from an average of 739,600 working in 2008 to 629,500, according to data from the state Department of Job and Family Services.

“We can’t wean ourselves off foreign oil and end up buying all kinds of components … from China when we should be making them here,” Brown said in a conference call with reporters. “We know we’ve been a manufacturing state in the past and we need to be a manufacturing state in the future.”

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