Tuesday's letters: Trade measure supports Florida manufacturing


Trade measure a plus for Florida

If Florida were a country, its $800 billion economy would make it the 19th largest economy in the world. Our state is poised to play a huge role in the global marketplace. In order to grow that economy, businesses need to be able to compete fairly around the world. Manufacturers need the support of U.S. negotiators to secure strong trade agreements in the world's biggest markets. Trade Promotion Authority is necessary to create the environment for such negotiations.

TPA is the key to increasing markets for Florida manufactured goods. It gives our leaders, both the president and Congress, the ability to negotiate trade deals in a timely manner. Contrary to rhetoric that has come from loud factions in both parties lately, TPA will not lead to manufacturing jobs being shipped overseas. It is a legislative mechanism to ensure that we can negotiate and finalize trade deals to increase our exports and even attract new manufacturers to the United States. That means more — not fewer — manufacturing jobs for Floridians.

Florida businesses exported more than $58 billion in goods last year alone. Along with those billions of dollars in exports, international trade supports over 2 million jobs in Florida.

More than 18,000 manufacturers in our state employ more than 317,000 workers. TPA is an essential legislative tool for helping the United States lead in trade negotiations and secure deals that will increase Florida's exports and bring even more manufacturing jobs to the state.

Trade Promotion Authority had strong bipartisan support in the Senate with Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., voting for passage. Our senators should be commended for their bipartisanship in support of Florida manufacturing. Now the U.S. House needs to follow their lead and support Florida manufacturers by voting for TPA.

Nancy Stephens, executive director, Manufacturers Association of Florida, Tallahassee

Curbside recycling

It shouldn't be this hard

When the St. Petersburg City Council decided to establish a curbside recycling program, they did not undertake to send the first man to the moon. It has been widely reported that St. Petersburg is the last city of any size in Florida to adopt such a program; there are certainly hundreds of cities in the United States that have such programs and, no doubt, thousands of cities worldwide.

When the city leaders began this project, they had access to a vast amount of information about other established programs that should have provided a wealth of guidance as to what works and what doesn't. In fact, the "problems" with the program are simply tangible evidence of incompetence on the part of our political leaders and the administrators charged with the responsibility of implementing their decision to establish the program.

Add this episode to the ongoing bungling over the baseball issue and our city government looks "small ball" indeed.

Roger C. Benson, St. Petersburg

Monkey farm draws federal inquiry June 2

End inhumane treatment

The results of a recent federal investigation of monkey breeding facilities in Hendry County should concern all Floridians. Undercover video documents thousands of free-living monkeys, captured from Asia, confined in filthy conditions while enduring inhumane treatment just so Primate Products Inc. can profit from the sale of their blood, spinal fluid and fetal organs, and ultimately from shipping them to labs for vivisection and death.

This is not "agriculture" or "farming," as county officials claim, but experimentation and profit based on misery.

Shamefully, local politicians ignored their obligation to conduct public hearings before establishing Hendry County as the monkey breeding capital of the nation.

At a time when science is shifting toward non-animal models, including genomics, in-vitro technology and stem cell research, Hendry County officials decided — in complete secrecy, defying Sunshine Laws — to anchor economic growth on a morally indefensible, inhumane industry.

The next step must be to remove the monkeys to sanctuaries and listen to the voices of county residents: Shut it down.

Joan Zacharias, Tampa

Protect and extend ban on drilling off Florida | June 4

Moving to renewables

I commend Rep. David Jolly for introducing legislation to extend the ban on oil drilling off Florida's shores until 2027.

In the five years since the BP oil spill, the United States has made enormous strides toward achieving energy independence, even while the number of oil- and gas-producing wells has decreased by 14 percent. Improvements in drilling technology and energy efficiency have bought our nation some time while renewable energy sources come online.

For energy independence into the indefinite future, we must step up the replacement of fossil fuels by renewables. One revenue-neutral approach that would accelerate progress is called Carbon Fee and Dividend. This policy imposes a fee on carbon to compensate for unfair government subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. The resulting revenues would be distributed uniformly among the public.

I thank the Times and Jolly for reminding us that the ban must be maintained to protect Florida's coast from the threat by offshore drilling.

Robert Austin, Seminole

It comes down to 12 votes | June 5, editorial

Remember them

This editorial was a great summary identifying those politicians who put personal interests ahead of the interests of the public. Please identify the other issues that these folks support that are contrary to the will of the public.

Voters tend to forget who the villains are by election time. I have cut this out and it will remain on my home office billboard for reference come election time next year.

Ronald Matte, Land O'Lakes

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