Jones takes trade imbalance fight to Washington
Keeps issues in front of local, national leaders
By Ann Cantrell
Jim Jones wants to keep small manufacturers in the minds of Georgia’s politicians and he is traveling to D.C. to do it.
The vice president of Dixie Industrial Finishing Company, a member of National Association for Surface Finishing, National Association of Manufacturers and Georgia Industry Association, Jones uses his involvement to schedule meetings with members of Congress and the Senate. Dixie Industrial Finishing Company is located in the fourth district of Decatur, but Jones has an office in Madison off Main Street.
Since 2002, he has traveled to Washington D.C. for the Washington Forum to discuss surface finishing with different politicians and organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“They brief us on things going policy wise as it relates to our industry,” said Jones. In addition to these briefings, Jones also met with several representatives from Georgia to discuss issues, including Paul Broun and aids from both John Barrow’s and Saxby Chambliss’ office. With each meeting, Jones, and Burl Finkelstien, who accompanied Jones to D.C. more then six times, attempt to get certain issues regarding manufacturing addressed and in general keep manufacturers on the forefront of policy making. Several issues affect the manufacturing business, particularly small business owners. These issues range from trade policies to environmental regulations. “I feel like you have to get involved—I try to put the issue on the forefront,” said Jones.
These issues, said Jones, affect not just the American small manufacturing businesses, but the economy as a whole. Right now, Dixie Industrial Finishing Company’s main competitor is not another American manufacturing company but the manufacturing industry in China. Industries in China do not have to comply with the same regulations as American manufacturers, said Jones.“They don’t have the tax structure that we have. They don’t have the energy cost that we have. They don’t have the tort cost. They don’t have healthcare cost,” said Jones. As a result, many small businesses simply cannot keep up with foreign manufacturers. Many Madison companies have closed or moved elsewhere, and Jones claims that these closings in the manufacturing business affect the economy as a whole. If individuals are no longer employed, then they cannot afford their mortgages, and the housing market suffers, said Jones. Jones spoke directly with Paul Broun, Georgia’s 10th Congressional District Representative, on these issues, specifically trade agreements. He met with Senator Saxby Chambliss’ aide, Adam Noah. He also met with about 10 other legal aides of Georgia politicians. Jones hopes that through these different meetings, Georgia representatives will consider the concerns of small manufacturers, and be cautious with regulations that hurt manufacturers.