Guest Column: Time to eliminate tax breaks that send jobs overseas

July 18, 2012

Editor’s note: The following is a guest column by Cheri Bustos, Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative in the 17th Congressional District of Illinois. She is running against U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., in the November election.

Bustos wrote the following column after a visit July 8 with Sensata Technologies employees in Freeport, Ill.

Massachusetts-based Sensata, owned by private equity investment firm Bain Capital, is planning to outsource to China work currently being done in Freeport. The move would send 170 jobs overseas.

Presumptive Republican nominee for president, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was a co-founder of Bain Capital and served as the company’s CEO from 1984 until 2002, according to SEC filings (Romney has stated he resigned from Bain in 1999). Sensata employees have been attempting to appeal to Romney for support in saving their jobs.

The Freeport City Council voted 8-0 July 16 in support of a resolution calling on Romney to visit Freeport and help save the jobs. U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., and Schilling also sent a letter to the company’s CEO, Thomas Wroe Jr., July 6 urging him to keep the jobs in Freeport.

By Cheri Bustos
Democratic Nominee for U.S. Representative, 17th Congressional District of Illinois

The stories I heard Sunday I will not soon forget:

Sixty-one-year-old Dot Turner began working at Sensata Technologies at the age of 18. Today, 43 years later, the job she has committed her life to is about ready to be shipped off to China. After working hard every day of her career, she worries about finding a new job. She’s never been on unemployment. She sure never thought she’d have to be looking for work in the sixth decade of her life.

Cheryl Randecker, a 33-year Sensata employee, has already lost her job once to China. Now, come the end of this year, she’ll lose it once again to China. Her daughter has already left her four-year university to return home to Freeport because of the pending job loss.

Mark Schreck is a single father of three daughters. After eight years at Sensata, he not only will lose his job to China, he’ll lose the health insurance his young girls need and on which they rely. He gets emotional thinking about it.

All of this courtesy of Bain Capital, owner of Sensata, and founded by none other than Mitt Romney.

All of this courtesy of skewed and perverse federal tax laws supported by those in Congress who don’t care enough or who don’t have heart enough to represent hard-working middle-class families like Dot’s and Cheryl’s and Mark’s.

It’s because of these families that I am running for Congress in the 17th District, which now represents Freeport. The seat is now held by Tea Partier Bobby Schilling, who has consistently voted in favor of tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.

I’ve watched incumbent Congressman Schilling as he and his fellow Tea Partiers have put partisanship over performance, gridlock over getting things done. The result is places like Sensata putting their own narrow interests over those of our country.

We need a strong manufacturing base because our economy needs to make things. It’s what we do best. We have that unparalleled Midwestern work ethic.

One of my first acts as your congresswoman will be to introduce a bill to get rid of these ridiculous tax breaks for sending jobs overseas and provide incentives to keep them here.

Dot, Cheryl, Mark and their nearly 170 co-workers and their families whose jobs are being shipped to China deserve to have their representative in Congress fight for them, not just for the big corporations like Bain Capital-run Sensata.

My loyalty is to working families, to the middle class, to Dot, Cheryl and Mark. They deserve that and nothing less.

Cheri Bustos is the Democratic nominee for Congress. She is a working mom of three sons and is married to a sheriff’s department captain.

From the July 18-24, 2012, issue

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