Hazleton Standard Speaker
Overregulation is stunting the growth of American businesses like Hazleton Casting and Weatherly Casting, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey said during a tour of the manufacturing facilities Thursday.
The Republican lawmaker said too many regulations imposed by the Obama administration on agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Labor Relations Board are preventing American businesses from hiring more people.
“I’ve talked to people who employ workers. They are thinking about hiring more workers, but are worried about the cost because they don’t know how much it’s (regulation) going to cost,” Toomey said.
Toomey said he toured Hazleton Casting because it “is exactly the kind of business I want to see thrive” – if it wasn’t held back by too many regulations.
“It’s a manufacturing business which provides good jobs in an area where the unemployment rate is too high, higher than the state average,” Toomey said. “Yet, there’s growth here. They’ve managed to find a way to be innovative, be more technologically sophisticated than their competition. It is important for them to sell their product overseas. They won’t succeed if we regulate them to death.”
Toomey said regulation should strike a sensible balance.
Michael Leib, a licensed engineer who purchased the then-failing Weatherly Foundry and took it high-tech in 1989, said complying with current regulations takes a lot of time and money.
“We have spent so many man-hours on compliance it’s unbelievable,” Leib said. “Plus, we have several consultants. I’m an engineer by trade, and some of the regulations are so complex it requires an enormous amount of intelligence and work in order to comply.”
There were 40 employees when Leib bought the Weatherly Foundry. Today, Weatherly Casting and Hazleton Casting – which Leib purchased in 2003 – employ 116 people.
“These are high-paying jobs,” Leib said. “Our master molders make $20 an hour plus benefits. We have an annual payroll of $5 million in wages and benefits.”
Toomey was awed by what he saw at Hazleton Casting.
“It’s fascinating to see the process,” Toomey said. “It’s fascinating to see the combination of old heavy industry that makes these big, metal pieces, but they do it in a way that’s technologically very advanced because have to get the allow exactly right to in order for the piece to work out in the field. This is a great example of Pennsylvania ingenuity that is allowing this company to succeed.”
Toomey said he is inviting people to share their experience with regulations that are “not sensible” through his “Had Enough” campaign, http://toomey.senate.gov/hadenough.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, also speaking in Hazleton on Thursday, also said overregulation is killing job creation and business growth.
“The federal government has made things more difficult for businesses and job creators because of uncertainty more burdensome overregulation is creating,” Barletta said. “The overregulation is creating confusion, stifling economic growth and preventing job creation.”
Barletta said the U.S. House of Representatives has approved 30 bills aimed at economic growth, but they have not been brought to a vote in the Senate.
“One way to grow our economy is by fixing our infrastructure. In Pennsylvania, we have more than 5,000 bridges that are rated structurally deficient or obsolete. One out of every five miles of our major highways are in poor or mediocre condition.”
So the House came up with the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, House Bill 7.
“This is the first long-term infrastructure bill to come before Congress in seven years,” Barletta said “It would commit the U.S. to a five-year, $260 billion program to rebuild and restore America’s highways and bridges, reform transportation programs, remove barriers to domestic energy production, strengthen America’s investment in our infrastructure without raising taxes or borrowing any money.
“It would provide a way for states to undertake major projects,” Barletta said. “More importantly, it would put people back to work.”