CORONADO, CALIF. — The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. recently created a state-government-affairs initiative to influence policy issues and support members' business goals. SPI developed the program "over the last couple of months," Maureen Healy said in remarks at a Western Region luncheon in Coronado. She is with SPI's national office of state government affairs in Washington.
"SPI is very enthused and very committed to the state government program," she said.
SPI and the American Plastics Council have operated jointly in this arena, but last June's split modified the playing field.
"We do work with APC in every instance possible," Healy said. "There has been a partnership effort there all along."
She said members "expect there to be a prioritization and a focus of time and resources to the state as well as the regional levels of SPI."
Program components include legislative monitoring and reporting, re-establishment of SPI's identity at the state level, assistance on state government issues, education of public officials and workplace-development efforts.
Healy shared SPI's data on jobs and shipments from 1999, 1996, 1994 and 1991 for the plastics industry by state.
`California remains the largest plastics employer in the United States, employing more than 135,000 people in plastics industry jobs, a 22 percent increase over five years, Healy said. Plastics shipments in the state grew to $24 billion, up 24 percent.
"In Washington state, there was a 37 percent increase in plastics jobs, to 17,600, and a 70 percent increase in shipments, to $2.9 billion, in the past five years.
Oregon has seen a 50 percent increase in jobs, to 11,500, and a 66 percent increase in shipments to $2 billion.
`Arizona now has more than 300 plastics facilities that employ more than 13,000, up 33 percent over the five-year period. Arizona shipments of $2.5 billion are up 66 percent since 1994.
"This is the type of data that will get an elected official's attention when you talk about jobs that you bring to their district and dollars in shipments each and every year," Healy said.
SPI plans a breakfast meeting for officials with state economic development agencies during NPE, June 19-23 in Chicago.