Innovative Manufacturers? Tax Them

The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network held their annual Manufacturer of the Year awards event Wednesday, with three innovative manufacturers receiving recognition. The National Association of Manufacturers helped sponsor the awards, and NAM President John Engler provided a video salute to the honorees.

Large Manufacturer of the Year: ADTRAN, Inc. is a leading global provider of networking and communications equipment, providing solutions for voice, data, video and Internet communications across a variety of network infrastructures. ADTRAN, Inc. has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the nation’s 200 Best Small Companies, as one of the “40 Best Stocks to Retire On,” and in 2009 was voted one of the Best Places to Work in Huntsville/Madison County.

Medium Manufacturer of the Year: STERIS Corporation, Montgomery is a leading provider of infection prevention and surgical products and services for the health care industry, serving thousands of customers in more than 60 countries. The Montgomery facility’s 260 employees produce a variety of products for the operating room and surgical environment, including surgical tables, lighting systems, scrub sinks, stretchers, warming cabinets, and equipment management systems that provide medical personnel ready access to medical gases, electrical power, and communication services.

Small Manufacturer of the Year: Turner Medical of Athens transitioned from a leading supplier of automated equipment for the automotive and appliance industries to a manufacturer of surgical instruments for the medical industry. Today, Turner Medical is one of the highest quality medical manufacturers in the Southeast and one of the fastest growing facilities in north Alabama. Turner Medical’s 80 employees supply a wide variety of surgical instruments as well different implantable rods, plates and screws to the orthopedic medical history.

Congratulations to all three. Innovation, investment and excellence occur across all sectors of industry, but it’s certainly no surprise to find outstanding examples in telecommunications equipment and medical device manufacturing — areas where the United States remains a global leader.

Congress asks, how can we screw that up?

A tax on medical devices is a good start. From The Boston Herald, via The Daily Caller, “Health-care sales tax could kill thousands of Bay State jobs“:

A dire warning from Bay State medical-device companies that a new sales tax in the federal health-care law could force their plants – and thousands of jobs – out of the country has rattled Gov. Deval Patrick, a staunch backer of the law and pal President Obama.“This bill is a jobs killer,” said Ernie Whiton, chief financial officer of Chelmsford’s Zoll Medical Corp., which employs about 650 people in Massachusetts. Many of those employees work in Zoll’s local manufacturing facility making heart defibrillators.

“We could be forced to (move) manufacturing overseas if we can’t pass along these costs to our customers,” said Whiton.

U.S. Senate Republicans also identified the Medical Device Tax as damaging policy and potentially good politics, proposing amendments during last night’s debate on the reconciliation bill.

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