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Finally, some government help.

Experience has taught many businessmen to distrust two statements. One is, "The check is in the mail." The other--made solicitously by a government agency--is, "We are here to help you." Late payers can be dunned; overzealous government can only be tolerated until more rational heads prevail. Who can forget OSHA in the early '70s?

There are many who feel that the best thing government can do--besides recognizing that it is limited in what it can do--is to give business all the tax breaks and regulatory relief possible. Business best understands business problems.

Recently, however, one regional government body has initiated an action (not legislation) designed to help industry help itself--specifically, the machine-tool industry. Interestingly, this group, made up of private-sector experts, reads like a list of Who's Who in the machine-tool industry.

It all started with the Council of Great Lakes Governors, originally formed to achieve common environmental and economic development goals for the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Economic goals include industrial revitalization, reduced unemployment, and expansion of export markets for industries of those states.

Initially, the Council resolved that an intergovernmental and public/private reinvestment strategy be developed to enhance the competitive positions of such industries as autos, auto parts, steel, and machine tools. The resolution on reinvestment stresses the need for states to help regional industries and to seek enactment of federal policies to enhance states' efforts.

A more specific resolution was later proposed by Ohio's Governor Richard F Celeste, resulting in the creation of the Great Lakes Governors' Commission on the Machine Tool Industry. The decision to focus on the machine-tool industry was made because machine tools form the base for all subsequent industrial production; the industry is vital to national defense; and about 60 percent of US metalworking machinery plants are located in the Great Lakes region.

After studying the current state of the machine-tool industry from the standpoints of technology, capital formation, foreign trade, and the work force, the commission's final report has been issued. It contains several specific recommendations to: boost joint technology research; use new financial devices to aid industry; seek federal grant, contract, and research dollars; end unfair foreign trade; and help the work force by improving educational training programs.

A number of the proposals offer promise, such as those suggesting new ways to finance investment in machine tools, and ways to encourage exports to Communist-bloc countries, where a large potential market exists. Here is a case where government asked, "How can we help?" The answer will depend on active participation by the industry involved. We will keep you posted. For more information on the Commission's report, circle E19.
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Title Annotation:Council of Great Lakes Governors to help machine tool industry
Author:Green, Dick
Publication:Tooling & Production
Article Type:editorial
Date:Dec 1, 1984
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