Brinly-Hardy blames layoffs on Trump administration tariffs

Jeffersonville company open since 1800s blames tariffs for layoffs

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Jeffersonville company says it has laid off 75 employees since February because of tariffs.

Brinly-Hardy, which was founded in 1893 in Kentucky, has been manufacturing lawn care accessories in Jeffersonville for 20 years.

According to our partners at the News and Tribune, CEO Jane Hardy testified before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in July -- warning taxes on imported goods could be the "nail in the coffin" for her company.

In the testimony, Hardy said the price of steel goods in their production have gone up as much as 37%, making it harder to operate the lawn mower business.

"Maybe it's a good idea to protect steel and aluminum, but you are helping certain industries at the expense of everybody else," Eric Schansberg, Professor of Economics at Indiana University Southeast, said.

Months ago, domestic steel and aluminum industries began feeling the positive affect of taxes placed on those imported goods, while the rest of the market waited for the aftermath.

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The proposals and following tweets from President Donald Trump's Twitter account fueled speculation and market trading. Meetings with industry leaders and the Trump administration sent investors into a flurry as they tried to predict the impact of the proposed tariffs.

Trump tweeted on March 1 that:

One day later, on March 2, Trump tweeted that trade wars are 'a good thing':

"People that are having their competition restricted love that," Schansberg said. "But then it causes consequence for consumers that they are going to have higher prices and less access to goods and services."

Wendy Dant Chesser, the CEO of One Southern Indiana, said she is not exactly sure which companies are being affected, but she does know there will be winners and losers whiles tariffs are in place.

"When you protect steel and aluminum you are making it more difficult on companies that use steel and aluminum," Schansberg said. "You are driving up the price of one of their key inputs and you are making it difficult for them to compete globally."

The tariffs in question were proposed by the Trump administration on March 1, according to Reuters. That Thursday, Trump said the U.S. would impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminum.

In 2016, Brinly-Hardy expanded into a year-round operation. Now they have laid off about 37% of their staff as they go into their fall season.

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