WASHINGTON - Seeking greater recognition of the plastics industry's economic contributions, Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. President Larry Thomas has announced plans for a series of state-level meetings, including a second Ohio Plastics Summit. Plans are under way for a similarly themed, but smaller event in January in Connecticut, where a group of 14 processors want to demonstrate to Gov. John Rowland the importance of the plastics industry to that state.
``We are part of that [Connecticut meeting],'' Thomas said. ``It won't be on the scale of a summit.''
The Connecticut molders have invited Rowland to next month's planned plastics symposium. However, a spokesman for the governor said he has not set or accepted a January meeting date and isn't expected to take up the issue formally until the legislature reconvenes in February. The first-term Republican governor is presently embroiled in a struggle to eliminate as much as $65 million in state debt by June 30 to meet a state mandate for a balanced budget.
Plastics processors, pleased that Connecticut's legislature in June approved a $4,800 per-year tax deduction for each person employed under the Plastics Technology Apprentice Program, are returning the favor by backing Democratic senators who are now calling on Rowland to produce a sound fiscal blueprint for the state.
The legislators ``expected a little something in return'' for their support of the tax deduction measure, said Charles Sholtis, president of Plastics Molding Technology Inc. of Seymour, Conn.
Sholtis and other molders also support the Naugatuck Valley Deployment Research Program in Ansonia, Conn., which has an injection molder job-training program whose $500,000 grant runs out in June.
The program instructs students in the state-sanctioned apprentice program at the Emmett O'Brien Vocational Technical School in Ansonia.
Sholtis said he has considered moving to a state with lower power rates and taxes, such as South Carolina, but would rather stay in Connecticut.
Pierre Dziubina, president and owner of Spectrum Molded Plastics, an Ansonia molder with $8 million in annual sales, said ``Connecticut is one of the toughest states to do business in'' because of high taxes and workers' compensation rules.
``Obviously I could move, but my technological support is in this area,'' he said. ``We're trying to make them aware of how significant the plastics industry is to the state of Connecticut.''
Ohio's second Plastics Summit is the only one of its kind so far scheduled for 1996. It starts April 30 at the Columbus Convention Center.
The event will be co-sponsored by the Ohio Department of Development, SPI, Polymer Processors Association, Society of Plastics Engineers and Edison Polymer Innovation Corp.
Ohio Gov. George Voinovich was an enthusiastic participant at both the last state summit and the K'95 show in Dusseldorf, Germany, in October.
``This summit,'' he said, `` will help Ohio maintain its pre-eminent position as a leader in the plastics industry.''