Boyle introduces bill that would reward companies staying in US

The U.S. representative announced the legislation at the rubble of the former Kraft and Nabisco plant.

Keep it in the country: Brendan Boyle visited the former Kraft and Nabisco plant last week to encourage companies to stay in the United States.

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle last week stood outside the rubble of the former Kraft and Nabisco plant to announce legislation to reward companies that keep good jobs in the United States and punish those that do not.

Boyle (D-13th dist.) is joined by Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, all Democrats, in introducing the Patriot Employer Tax Credit Act. Schakowsky and Durbin are involved because of Mondelez layoffs at a Nabisco bakery in Chicago.

There are no Republican cosponsors, but Boyle hopes for bipartisan support. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican who generally supports trade, will have a large say in whether the bill receives action in a committee.

The bill would provide a tax credit to businesses that invest in American workers by offering them family-sustaining wages and benefits while closing a loophole that allows corporations to write off costs overseas. The businesses would be required to recruit veterans and the disabled.

The hope is that companies would have fewer incentives to invest in low-wage manufacturing overseas.

“The Patriot Employer Act would end that,” Boyle said.

The tax credit would be funded by taxes on American companies that continue to pay low wages to overseas workers.

Mondelez closed the plant, at Byberry Road and Roosevelt Boulevard, in June 2015. Buildings on the 28-acre site have largely been demolished to make way for a Wawa and other businesses.

Boyle held up a package of Oreo cookies made by Mondelez in Mexico, where he said workers make $10 a day.

“Those are slave wages,” he said.

The congressman called for “a little more patriotism” from big American companies paying low wages overseas. He linked the rubble and ruin of the former plant to a failure of the U.S. tax code and trade policy.

Four former Nabisco employees, each with at least 40 years on the job, joined Boyle at the news conference. They were Allan Babnew, Jerry Carruthers, Joe Brown and Jim Cantwell, who described themselves as “dinosaurs” who enjoyed their careers. ••