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Monday, December 19, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Carrier blames job cuts on new federal rules, but regulatory burden is tough to measure"

This is a great effort by James Briggs of the Indianapolis Star, in which he tries to pin down the "53 new regulations" which reportedly had forced Carrier's effort to move its west-side factory to Mexico. A few quotes from the lengthy story:

United Technologies officials say Trump's pledge to cut through the Obama administration's red tape gave them confidence to keep building furnaces in Indianapolis.

That assertion, promoted by Trump and Pence, raises questions about how many federal rules are affecting manufacturers such as Carrier and how great of a burden they pose. There are no simple answers.

Experts say regulations do indeed impose billions of dollars of costs on heating and cooling manufacturers — but not necessarily enough financial hardship to cause those companies to shut down plants.

Carrier declined to comment on regulations. Trump, citing numbers often used by Carrier, offered at least a partial explanation during his Dec. 1 visit to celebrate the Carrier deal.

“Since about six years ago, 260 new federal regulations have passed, 53 of which affect this plant," Trump said while standing in Carrier's west-side factory. "Fifty-three new regulations. Massively expensive and probably none of them amount to anything in terms of safety or the things that you’d have regulations for.”

The numbers Trump cited have been circulating since United Technologies announced it would shutter its Indiana factories. Jim Schellinger, the president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., used them in a letter he wrote to U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly in March. Schellinger relayed concerns that Robert McDonough, the president of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, had expressed to Pence about those 53 regulations.

McDonough, while meeting with Pence in March, "began his comments by telling the Governor that federal regulations were the significant driver of the board’s decision to relocate 2,100 jobs to Mexico," Schellinger said in his letter.

A few paragraphs later, Schellinger drove home the point.

"Please forgive me for being redundant," he said, "but Mr. McDonough stated several times that, in fact, extensive federal regulations were the leading factor" in the company's move.

IndyStar could not find 53 regulations that would have driven United Technologies to relocate Indiana jobs to Mexico. An IEDC spokeswoman referred questions about a possible list of regulations to the company, which did not provide one.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 19, 2016 10:08 AM
Posted to Indiana Government