March 16, 2010

Allen calls for ending tax breaks to companies moving jobs overseas

— The Associated Press

KITTERY — U.S. Senate candidate Tom Allen says he wants to stop giving tax breaks to companies that move jobs overseas, and proposes rewarding companies that invest in American workers.

The Maine Democrat presented those and other proposals at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Thursday as he outlined his agenda on trade, jobs and manufacturing. Allen is challenging Republican Sen. Susan Collins in her re-election bid in November.

Allen said trade policies over the past two decades have resulted in thousands of Maine jobs going overseas.

''Trade deals have favored big multinational corporations at the expense of Maine's workers and small businesses,'' he said.

Allen proposed ending a practice known as fast-track that forces Congress to approve trade deals on an up-or-down vote, and wants lawmakers to have more control over how deals between the United States and emerging economic powers are structured, regulated and evaluated.

The congressman's plan also proposes measures to stop giving tax breaks to companies that move jobs offshore so they can pay lower wages and avoid paying American taxes.

''Tax incentives for companies to move jobs out of America are just wrong,'' he said. ''We need to invest in our workers here at home by creating a Patriot Employer Tax Credit that rewards companies that keep jobs in America, pay a living wage and offer affordable health care benefits.''

The trade deficit between the United States and China was $256 billion a year by the end of last year and is the largest among the nation's trading partners, according to Allen.

''The Chinese have consistently manipulated their own currency by artificially devaluing it in order to make their products cheaper on the world market. That undercuts our prices and puts our manufacturers at a clear disadvantage,'' he said.

Along with other members of Maine's congressional delegation, he is co-sponsoring the Fair Currency Act, which would crack down on currency manipulation partially by applying duty laws to Chinese imports to level the playing field for domestic manufacturers.

Allen's plan calls for investments in renewable energy technologies and retrofits of state and local buildings to create thousands of new jobs, and investments in home weatherization.

Earlier this week, Allen outlined the first piece of his economic plan, which calls for creation of a national infrastructure bank that would finance major regional transportation projects with state and local governments. An investment of $60 billion in transportation projects over two years would create 2 million jobs, he said.

Collins has introduced legislation to make available more money to low-income families for weatherization programs, grant money for low-income families who do not qualify for energy efficiency tax credits and low interest loans for middle-income consumers.

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