WV “Buy American Act” – U.S.-Made Products for State Projects

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Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Buy American Act of 2013 – now before the State Legislature – would require the use of U.S.-manufactured products in taxpayer-funded projects in the state. Comments from Randy Moore, sub-district director for the United Steelworkers.

A bill now in the Legislature would require more use of American manufactured products in taxpayer funded projects. Randy Moore with the United Steelworkers says the West Virginia Buy American Act of 2013 is similar to a long-standing state law that requires domestic construction materials be used for public projects. He says manufacturing is enjoying a revival in this country, and West Virginia could add jobs with a sharper focus on how tax money is spent.

“As I travel about the state, everybody wants to say, ‘We’re never gonna get out of this hole we’re in this country until we start making something.’ So, let’s use our tax dollars to work on our economy and get our economy started back.”

The bill would exempt projects smaller than a million dollars. It also exempts cases in which no American manufactured product exists or would work properly. S-B 574 is now before the Senate Government Organization Committee.

Moore points out that West Virginia used to have a large number of small and medium-sized manufacturers – fabricators and machine shops that supported the state’s heavy industry. He believes there’s a lot of room for growth.

“This state used to be flooded with those kind of operations. There’s all kinds of opportunity out there that could come back to this state.”

Opponents of these types of rules that protect American goods or jobs say they end up raising costs. But Moore says while nations like China may offer cheaper prices on some products, once quality and the impact on the U-S economy are accounted for, the choice should be clear.

“My grandmother, she would say to us, ‘Son, you get exactly what you pay for.’ And that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me at the time, but as I’ve grown older, it’s made a lot more sense to me.”

A bill now in the Legislature would require more use of American manufactured products in public projects. Day Heyman has more.

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