Air Tractor in Olney is now able to continue the majority of their overseas export sales now that a major government agency has recently received re-authorization.
On December 4th of this year, President Barrack Obama was able to sign into law a massive transportation funding bill that included authorization of United States Export Import Bank. The Bank is used as a way for American businesses to obtain financing for their exports to out of country customers. Air Tractor uses the Ex-Im Bank for nearly 25% of its transactions.
On June 30th of this year the Ex-Im Bank's authorization expired because certain Republicans on the House Finance Committee, including Congressman Randy Neugebauer, who represents Young County, refused to allow or support any re-authorization. David Ickert, Vice President of Finance for Air Tractor, said that lack of re-authorization could have been a major problem for the company.
"When you lose 25% of your business without being able to replace it that is a drastic hit on our ability to do business at the current employment level so it would have impacted our employment level," said Ickert.
There were as many as 60-80 employees could have lost their jobs out of the nearly 300 people that work at Air Tractor.
"We were never sure until it actually passed what was going to happen," said Phil Jeske, Finance Manager of Air Tractor.
Jeske is not only an Air Tractor employee, but also the Mayor of Olney, where Air Tractor is located. About half of Air Tractor's employees are from Olney.
"It's going to help the community as far as sales taxes you know the employees are still going to be employed the businesses around town are not going to have to worry if they will have to pull back as well," said Jeske.
Now that employees at Air Tractor don't have to worry about job security, this holiday season they can instead focus on having a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The Ex-Im Bank is now re-Authorized for the next five years through 2019. Congressman Neugebauer cited a house report that claims that the Ex-Im Bank cost taxpayers over $2 billion over a 10 year period.
Click HERE for a link to the Congressional Budget Office Report on the Export-Import Bank.
According to the Export - Import Bank website nearly 90% of the agency transactions directly supported 3,340 small businesses across the nation, including Air Tractor. In 2014 the bank $27 billion of U.S. exports at no cost to the American taxpayer. On Sunday the Senate voted to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. Congressional leaders left the capital Wednesday for a five week long recess.
By financing the export of American goods and services, Ex-Im Bank has supported 1.3 million private-sector, American jobs since 2009, supporting 164,000 jobs in FY 2014 alone. In FY 2015, nearly 90 percent of EXIM Bank's transactions—more than 2,330—directly supported American small businesses.
Critics of the Ex-Im say while it may help many small businesses in the U.S. there are still large multinational corporations being provided low interest loans from the bank even though they are shipping jobs along with their products overseas.