Presidential Candidates Mainly Mum on Manufacturing

The presidential campaign for both parties continues to heat up due to the surprising staying power of multiple candidates as we head into the South Carolina primary.

Bernie Sanders continues to haunt Hillary Clinton and the candidates favored by the Republican Party have failed to pull away from the largely independent-speaking Donald Trump.

At almost 17% of the state’s GDP, manufacturing is the largest sector of the economy in South Carolina, which would imply it would be a talking point on the campaign trail. However, other than Trump’s constant threat to curtail Chinese imports, the statements from the candidates have been vague at best. South Carolina presents several attractive offerings for manufacturers especially for auto manufacturing companies.

Capitol Building U.S. Congress

Among the perks that SC offers to manufacturing and all industries is: no state property tax, no local income tax, no inventory tax, no sales tax on manufacturing machinery, industrial power or materials for finished products, no wholesale tax, no unitary tax on worldwide profits, and favorable corporate income tax structure.

Many of these have been brought up by Connecticut manufacturers as possible incentives to be brought to the state to grow industry.

Ed Caruthers, a respected blogger who often writes on manufacturing, commented on the candidates’ attention to manufacturing in general:

“The best solution is to improve education so that Americans are worth higher wages than workers in other countries.  But that won’t be fast; it will cost money; and it will undermine politicians who appeal to ignorance and irrationality.”

Connecticut has made education for the next generation of the manufacturing workforce a priority, but there is a general agreement that more must be done to keep and attract manufacturers in the state.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, a state that should be perfect for discussing how to position the country’s manufacturing future, the candidates remain largely quiet on the eve of the primary.