More Uncertainty and the Message Lorain County Might Hear

By January 22, 2010Economy, Health Care, Taxation

The Washington Post today runs a good scene-setting article on the economy and its effect on the people of Lorain County, Ohio, where President Obama will speak today. From “Assessing Obama’s promises of jobs in a hub of manufacturing“:

One of the few large businesses that has prospered in Lorain County in recent years has been Invacare, a maker of home medical devices, such as walkers and wheelchairs.

The company has 1,300 employees in Lorain County but has stopped hiring in anticipation of a tax on medical devices that was proposed to help pay for the president’s health-care reform plan.

A. Malachi Mixon III, who led a group of investors who bought the company from Johnson & Johnson in 1979, said the tax would cost his business $15 million a year — as much as he spends on research and development. If a tax were enacted, he said, he would seriously consider moving jobs to his factories in China and Mexico.

“I’m not making money in my Lorain plant now,” said Mixon, who has suspended contributions to the company 401(k), and frozen executive salaries in anticipation of the tax. That, in turn, has left many of his employees nervous.

“This tax will ultimately result in the loss of company revenue/profits, which will in turn, result in the loss of jobs for Invacare and Lorain County,” read an e-mail sent to county Democratic Party officials in advance of Obama’s visit by Joe Simonetti, who identified himself as a company employee. “I, personally, would rather pay more in taxes than to have Invacare pay the tax, just so I can keep my job.”

And from the local Fox affiliate, interviewing Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, who will meet one-on-one with President Obama:

Grace says he has met with many residents and business owners so he can present some of their concerns to the President. He said small businesses are worried because they are having trouble getting short term financing to build inventories and continue manufacturing goods. He said the health care bill is also a major worry for the city because a portion of the bill could affect Elyria-based Invacare.

“We’ll see but the early analysis is it will be detrimental to Invacare and they will have to look at manufacturing products overseas to avoid the tax that may be imposed through this health care bill,” Grace said.

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