By Sherrod Brown
A legacy of hard work and commitment to innovation has helped make Ohio one of the leading manufacturing states in the country. Our workers can compete with anyone in the world. And, every day, Ohio workers are making goods used all over the world.
During a visit to Northwest Ohio’s Owens-Illinois last week, I saw first-hand how innovation and investment can help preserve and create new manufacturing jobs in Ohio. With plans to open a new 18,000-square-foot Research and Development (R&D) center, O-I will create 45 new jobs. However, not all U.S. manufacturers are able to invest in the research and development that fuels job growth.
In fact, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the U.S. ranks 21st in the growth of business-funded research, with such research actually declining as a share of our GDP.
To keep American manufacturing moving forward, Washington needs to take action to promote the innovation and advances that protect jobs in Ohio.
However, our tax code does too little to promote investment in research, and allows companies to move plants overseas while deducting the moving costs. Rather than create tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas, we should be finding ways to grow and create jobs here.
We know that when American manufacturing moves to other countries we don’t just lose production, we also forgo innovation. That’s simply because innovative processes are often discovered on the factory floor.
It’s a lot easier for an Ohio engineer to walk across the street to the plant than to fly halfway around the world to fix a problem—or attempt a new process.
With increasing competition from companies like China, which invest heavily in R&D, we must maintain our innovative edge. We can’t out-compete the rest of the world if we can’t out-innovate them.
That’s why my bill, the 21st Century Investment Act, would spur domestic research by simplifying, enhancing, and making permanent the current research tax credit.
It would permanently extend the R&D tax credit that makes it easier for companies like Owens-Illinois to develop new technologies—by allowing them to take advantage of the credit to help offset some of the costs of new research.
And my legislation also increases tax credits making it easier for businesses to do the work needed to expand business and hire new workers—right here in the United States.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) estimates that increasing the simplified credit alone will “spur the creation of 162,000 additional jobs in the short run.”
Make no mistake—R&D fuels innovation because improvements happen on the shop floor, in our classrooms, and in the lab.
O-I’s new R&D center won’t just help some 45 new workers develop more innovative, environmentally sustainable ways to improve the way glass is made; this is also an investment in the future of our state, and the future of American manufacturing.
But while O-I’s R&D center is a good start; we have to ensure that even more companies across Ohio can develop new technologies. And the way to do this is by allowing them to take advantage of the credit to give them a financial incentive to invest in new research. With a stronger R&D tax credit, more companies can expand and hire workers right here in Ohio.
The R&D tax credit is a winner for business, for workers, and for our economy. That’s why I will continue the fight to pass my 21st Century Investment Act. We have a responsibility to ensure that Ohio’s domestic manufacturers can compete with the rest of the world.
Sherrod Brown is a U.S. Senator from Ohio.