House bill

Bill would require Florida public projects to use U.S.-made steel and iron

A House bill before the state administration and technology appropriations subcommittee seeks to mandate that Florida taxpayer-funded projects use steel and iron produced by companies in the United States, boosting the local economy while helping to support domestic manufacturing.

House Bill 619 (HB 619), known as the “Buy American Bill”, is drafted to combat the exponential purchase of materials from Chinese companies, resulting in an outsourced workforce that ultimately weakens the Florida economy. Tax-funded projects under the bill include the construction, maintenance, repair, renovation, remodeling or improvement of urban infrastructure.

“HB 619 helps strengthen the economy, create new jobs and promote responsible environmental practices. Florida’s taxpayer-funded projects should provide support to American businesses and workers who continue to manufacture and keep jobs here at home,” the bill’s author said. Anthony Rodriguez. “As a state and taxpayers, we should not reward companies that transfer their operating funds and jobs to countries like communist China. The Buy American Bill creates demand for domestically produced goods, helping to grow and sustain domestic manufacturing and the millions of jobs it supports. »

The bill calls for 3 waivers that grant a company the right to seek international purchases in the event of domestic unavailability of the necessary materials. The bill also takes into account the power of public interest, including a provision that would allow companies to “go elsewhere”.

“Any competent public administrator will tell you that when you engage in public investment, the responsible thing is to maximize value for money,” said Dr. Rich Templin. “We understand that steel production is a fundamental industry. It is a foundation of multiple economic sectors. Every dollar invested in this industry has a ripple effect that ripples throughout the economy. The worst thing you can do is take public money and invest in another country. It doesn’t promote jobs, it doesn’t pump money into local cash registers, and basically everything we engage in taxation for.

Although lawmakers voiced their approval, members of the public wavered in opposition.

“Unfortunately, I still have to oppose this bill because there are quite a few things that are wrong,” said Philip Suderman, political director of Americans For Prosperity. “The government has a responsibility to manage taxpayers’ money. The power of taxation should come from the understanding that hard-working taxpayers’ money should be used in a way that will benefit everyone in a way that delivers quality while ensuring the least expense possible. In simple terms, public expenditure has a cost for the population. The mandate of this bill will not control costs. The costs will increase. According to the House’s analysis, this bill will have a significant negative fiscal impact on state and local governments. This is an anti-free trade and anti-tax Conservative bill.

Rodriguez took to the podium to close the meeting to defend his bill and its effect on free trade.

“I have heard concerns from several of my colleagues, but my voting history will show that I am anti-regulation on another level. But when it comes to the safety of our residents, I’d rather have excessive regulation here than no regulation abroad, because it’s for the safety of our communities.

HB 619 passed favorably without amendment by a margin of 12 “yes” to 2 “no”, bringing it one step closer to a full House vote.