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(J.R.H. 45)

Offered by: Committees on Commerce and Government Operations.

Whereas, no sector of the American economy represents this country's spirit of free enterprise more than its 380,000 small manufacturers who make up over 98 percent of all United States manufacturers and employ more than 12,200,000 people, or over 65 percent of all United States manufacturing workers, and

Whereas, there are approximately 2,200 manufacturers in Vermont, which employ approximately 46,000 workers, and

Whereas, manufacturing contributes 17-18 percent of the gross state product, or about $2,500,000,000.00 per year to the state economy, and

Whereas, these companies provide important, high paying, quality employment opportunities for Vermont's workforce, and

Whereas, as large manufacturers increase their dependence on suppliers for parts and services, the performance and capabilities of smaller manufacturers become even more critical to the competitiveness of the entire manufacturing sector and to the health of the United States and Vermont economy, and

Whereas, while small manufacturers are critical to the U.S. economy, they are less likely than larger firms to know about and to implement technology, modern manufacturing processes, and current business practices; small manufacturers often do not have the time, money, or resources to keep pace with the constant pressure to cut costs, improve quality, and get to market faster with new and improved products, and

Whereas, recognizing the extraordinary contributions of Vermont's small manufacturers to the strength and well-being of this state, the Vermont General Assembly has worked to implement policies and programs designed to help companies overcome barriers to their productivity and competitiveness, and

Whereas, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center, affiliated with the U.S. Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is playing a key role in these efforts, and

Whereas, with the vital involvement of all states, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership system, managed by the Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, now delivers services to smaller manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and

Whereas, through the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center, small firms in Vermont have access to manufacturing and business specialists, and these experts guide manufacturing firms toward greater productivity, increased profits, and enhanced global competitiveness, and

Whereas, the Vermont legislature recognizes the extraordinary contributions of Vermont's small manufacturers to the strength and well-being of the state and wishes to celebrate Vermont's small manufacturers whose vitality and dedication to the American spirit of free enterprise have done so much for the prosperity of Vermont, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That 1999 is proclaimed the Year of the Small Manufacturer.

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Governor, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Small Business Development Center, Regional Development Corporations, and the Vermont Manufacturers' Extension Center.