Sen. Pryor Unveils "American-Made Strong" Jobs Plan

MEMPHIS, TN -- U.S. Senator Mark Pryor said he has a plan to keep "American-Made Strong" in Arkansas.

Pryor, a Democrat, is running for re-election this November against Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Cotton.

Senator Pryor is on the campaign trail, continuing his statewide jobs tour Tuesday.

Minimum wage in Arkansas is $6.25 an hour.

It is one of just four states below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Senator Mark Pryor said it is time Arkansas pays its workers more money so more products will be "Made In The USA."

"I believe we're the best in the world at making things. Our workers are better than anybody. The quality is better than anybody," Pryor said.

Razorback Concrete was a fitting location according to Senator Mark Pryor to discuss his "American-Made Strong" jobs package.

In an effort to bring good paying jobs back, Pryor plans to stop giving American companies tax breaks when they jump ship and move.

"They get a tax deduction to take those jobs and move them overseas. We've gotta stop that," Pryor said.

Also in his jobs legislation, Pryor wants to offer big companies and small businesses federal grants and tax credits to encourage them to come back home.

"We need to give a 20% tax credit for bringing jobs back home," Pryor said.

Pryor also wants to require companies hired to build America's highways and public works to use materials made only in the USA.

"Every time they raise minimum wage, the cost of living raises too. So it's basically the same thing," worker Lejuan Embery said.

Arkansas workers said Pryor's plans sounds good on paper, but U.S. businesses will never stay grounded unless employees are paid more money.

"Minimum wage is real low. I started off at Walmart. That's one of the biggest companies around here and they only start off with $7.65. That's still kinda low," Embery said.

Pryor supports the initiative to gradually increase minimum wage in Arkansas from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017.

"Try to get them a little more wage, a little more help to have a little better quality of life. It's just...all that money is gonna circulate back through the economy so really it's gonna have a very positive affect on the economy," Pryor said.

A petition to raise Arkansas' minimum wage needed nearly 63,000 valid signatures from registered voters. The deadline was Monday.

Supporters were about 15,000 signatures short last month, but Monday they turned in nearly 70,000 signatures.
If they are all valid, voters will get to decide whether or not to raise the state's minimum wage when they head to the polls November 4th.

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