updated: 1/29/2009 1:38:21 PM

[UPDATED] Bloomington GE Plant Gets a Reprieve

Inside INdiana Business.com Report

 Jeremy Sowders, business development vice president at the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., says he is "cautiously optimistic" about what the reprieve might mean for the community.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) says its longtime Bloomington plant, which was slated for closure in the first quarter of 2010, will remain open longer. Indiana Congressman Steve Buyer (R-04) says it will remain open beyond 2010, but it is unclear how much longer. A statement from Plant Manager Kent Suiters indicates government legislation providing tax credits for production of energy efficient products "will allow us to reevaluate the feasibility of making these products here." The GE Consumer and Industrial plant employed more than 800 workers at the time of the closure announcement.

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Source: Inside INdiana Business

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Press Release
Statement From Plant Manager Kent Suiters

Employees and union officials of IBEW Local 2249 at GE Consumer & Industrial’s refrigeration plant in Bloomington were informed today of the business’s intent to keep the plant open beyond the first quarter of 2010. Kent Suiters, plant manager, said, “Recent government legislation that provides tax credits for the production of energy-efficient products, like the side-by-side refrigerators we make in Bloomington, will allow us to reevaluate the feasibility of making these products here.”

In March 2008, GE Consumer & Industrial announced it would close the Bloomington plant in 2010. The side-by-side refrigerators manufactured at the plant have been uncompetitive due to high labor and material costs.

Suiters said, “While the tax credits will help us remain open beyond the first quarter of 2010, this is not the complete answer. Competitiveness for us is an ongoing challenge. To remain viable for the long term we still need to find additional ways to reduce our costs and improve our manufacturing processes. In the coming months, we will be evaluating additional measures, including other incentives, which can help us address competitiveness, green design and more efficient production of side-by-side refrigerators at our plant.

Source: General Electric

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Press Release

Washington, DC— GE Consumer & Industrial’s refrigeration plant in Bloomington announced today that their doors will stay open beyond 2010, saving 757 jobs. The plant’s production costs will be cut due to tax credits for American companies manufacturing energy efficient appliances, like the side-by-side refrigerators produced by the Bloomington plant. Congressman Steve Buyer (IN-04) supported the final passage of the energy bill that included the tax credits in December 2007.

“As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee we worked hard to promote legislative language that would help American companies compete in the world marketplace in the bill we passed in 2007. Tax incentives for companies, such as GE, to produce energy efficient appliances were on our minds as we drafted this bill. GE has an outstanding workforce at their Bloomington facility and if the government passes pro-growth policies that allow them to expand and compete they will continue to make exceptional energy efficient products,” said Buyer.

Congressman Buyer went on to say how important having a lower tax policy is during these hard economic times and that tax credits do work in helping companies be more productive and cost efficient—allowing them to keep their doors open. Buyer’s tax policy is to keep more money in the hands of businesses and taxpayers and away from wasteful, government spending.

“This law is a perfect example of what the Congress should be doing to stimulate the economy. We should provide incentives for companies to produce products here, not overseas. I will make sure my colleagues know about the good news today in Bloomington that tax credits help create and save American jobs. As the stimulus package continues through the legislative process, Congress needs to better target our efforts to provide stimulus through the private sector,” added Buyer.

Source: Office of Congressman Steve Buyer

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