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Bringing jobs home and investigating trade agreements on Senator's agenda


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) -- With job outsourcing as a hot political topic right now, there’s support from some members of both parties to give businesses incentives and tax breaks for bringing jobs home instead of sending them overseas. Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is hoping the Bring Jobs Home Act can get enough support to remove the tax code that rewards businesses for exporting jobs.  “This measure repeals that perverse tax incentive, and in its place says let’s actually send the right message. Let’s say if you bring jobs back that there’s a tax credit.”

Baldwin says over the last decade, 2.4 million jobs were shipped overseas because of the tax loophole that lets businesses deduct the cost of moving personnel and components to other countries when filing taxes.  “This is in something that has been sort of out of whack in our tax code for many years, it’s high time we fix it.”

The Bring Jobs Home Act does have some bipartisan support, but Baldwin says many elected officials still need to be convinced to support it.  “They were willing to move to the next stages of debate, but not necessarily to pass the final bill. I’m hopeful that we will get to that point, but it is far from clear, so I hope people who think that this is the right thing to do will tell their elected officials that it’s time to pass the Bring Jobs Home Act.”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said Monday he supports the concept, and wants to see the details of the plan.

When it comes to trade agreements with other countries, Senator Baldwin suspects the U.S. might be getting a bad deal.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office has been asked by Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and Jeff Merkley of Oregon to investigate.

Baldwin wants the GAO to find out if access to procurement markets is fair and even between parties to trade pacts.  “My suspicion, and one of the reasons I’ve asked for this study is that they have greatly diluted the power of Buy America policies to begin with, and that there isn’t really a level playing field that our companies haven’t been given the same sort of opportunities that overseas companies have.”

The Wisconsin Senator says she suspects some countries are supporting competing firms, or are operating state-run competitors, allowing them to undercut any U.S. company bidding on a procurement contract.  “When we are using taxpayer dollars for government procurement or services, that they ought to support U.S. jobs, and increasingly, I believe these trade deals are leading to gaping holes in our Buy America preferences.”

Baldwin also wants to know small businesses are at a disadvantage because of our existing trade agreements. Right now, the U.S. is engaged in trade talks with several major trade negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks with 11 other Pacific Rim countries.