What would a two-thirds cut to the fiscal 2004 budget of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership likely mean for the MEP centers and for small manufacturers? According to estimates provided by Livonia, Mich.-based The Modernization Forum, the MEP's trade association, in the short term the centers likely would try to keep their operations alive during 2004 -- albeit at drastically reduced levels -- in the hope that funding would be restored in the fiscal year 2005 budget. The Modernization Forum estimates that:
- Two-thirds of MEP center employees would be laid off, with 11,275 fewer manufacturers served;
- Fees for services would increase;
- MEP centers would serve more larger manufacturers to generate fees;
- Smaller U.S. manufacturers would lose $1.8 billion in sales and $446 million in cost savings; would not invest $649 million in modernization; and would lay off or not hire 28,000 workers.