Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, appeared in studio Wednesday on WLS’s morning drive-time program in Chicago, the “Don Wade and Roma Show.” A good interview with informed hosts that touched on several items including Illinois’ business climate, U.S. competitiveness, taxes and the pending Senate vote to block EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases.
From the discussion of the latter (audio clip):
Timmons: The NAM is supporting the McConnell bill because it’s very definitive. It says the EPA cannot regulate greenhouse gases, and then Congress can then come back and create a law that would allow them to do that or do it in a way that Congress dictates.
Roma: It had originally been in Congress’ purview, and then the EPA did an end-run around when it ran into balky congressional leaders, right?
Timmons: Well, that’s exactly right. A couple of years ago there was a bill that was on the House floor to regulate greenhouse gases, and it did pass the House, it stalled in the Senate. So Congress actually said, no, we’re not going to allow the regulation of greenhouse gases. And now you have the EPA saying, well, if Congress isn’t going to do it, we’re going to do it. So, hey, that’s a fun job to have.
Don Wade: The reason we don’t want the EPA to tighten the screws on regulation on greenhouse gases is that it will increase the cost to manufacturers’ stuff. That stuff then will cost you, the consumer, more. It’s like a tax, only it’s not a tax. It’s a hidden tax.
Timmons: It’s a hidden tax that does raise the costs of all energy inputs into manufacturing. Manufacturing uses 30 percent of all the energy consumed in the United States to create those goods that you’re talking about that consumers buy. So you have one of two things happen. You either raise the costs of goods or manufacturers simply can’t compete, so jobs are lost.
And the other part of this is, it’s not just manufacturing. Somebody says, “Ah, let business pay,” well, this is also the consumer. This is also the retired…these are my retired parents, who are trying to pay their heating and cooling bill. And if you look at gas prices today, I don’t think anybody wants to pay more for energy costs.
WLS has posted audio of the full 12-minute interview here.