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ASK THE EXPERTS

Georgia is the state for business

POSTED: December 9, 2009 4:00 a.m.

Georgia is open for business and will remain that way as long as we don’t raise taxes.

  

During times of economic downturns and declining revenues, you will hear a variety of suggestions on how to turn around the economy. These suggestions can be as reasonable as tax incentives for job growth or as outlandish as raising taxes on struggling businesses and families.

  

Raising taxes in Georgia is not an option. Georgia is poised for an economic turn-around utilizing free-market principles.

  

Companies want to locate where taxes are low. Georgia has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates, ranking 42nd in the nation according to Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center.

  

Georgia also ranks 35th in the nation on total per person tax burden, making jobs more attractive. By maintaining these low taxes, Georgia is attracting companies, growing jobs and turning around our economy. Over the next five years, our state should see growth of more than 22,000 jobs and investments over $560 million from companies relocating to Georgia.

  

For example:

  

Mitsubishi Power Systems (Savannah) = 500 jobs and $325 million

  

Belgian flooring manufacturer IVC Group = 115 jobs and $70 million. This will be the company’s first U.S. plant and will be located in Dalton. 

  

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Newnan) cancer treatment hospital = 500 jobs and $150 million  

  

Chicken of the Sea International domestic canning operation (Lyons) = 200 jobs and $20 million. 

  

Fortune 500 processing firm First Data Corp. plans to relocate its global headquarters to Atlanta = 1,000 employees over the next three years. 

  

The new Kia plant in West Point rolled off the first car produced in the U.S. last month. Kia built its first U.S. manufacturing plant at a cost of $1 billion and brought 1,200 much-needed jobs to the region and state.

  

In addition, auto parts suppliers added approximately 3,000 jobs. 

  

Georgia Tech estimates that this plant will bring nearly 20,000 new jobs by 2012. 

  

Manufacturing is a sector of Georgia’s economy that will be critical to our state’s recovery and job creation. 

  

Last month we learned that three aerospace companies are embarking on new projects here in Georgia, from establishing U.S. headquarters in Atlanta to expanding existing facilities.

  

Georgia’s aviation sector ranks eighth among U.S. states in industry employment, with over 80,000 employees in more than 500 operations. 

  

Industry giants like Boeing, Cessna, Gulfstream and Lockheed Martin have a presence in the state.

  

Georgia is also home to many successful small businesses in the aviation industry, such as Zyvax Inc. in Ellijay, which provides chemical compounds for composite aviation manufacturing.

  

Georgia’s total aviation exports worldwide topped $3.2 billion in 2008, ranking the state as the ninth-highest U.S. state in this sector. 

  

Despite a dip in last month’s manufacturing activity, November followed a solid month of growth in Georgia. Several industry surveys point to expectations for future growth, with nearly 50 percent of manufacturers surveyed by the Georgia

 

Purchasing Managers Index expecting their production to increase in the next three to six months.

  

While recent advances in manufacturing are making a positive impact on the state, the industry that carries the most influence on our economy and jobs is housing.

  

Since the beginning of the Great Recession, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has cautioned that the first step to fixing the economy is to fix housing. He’s noted that: “No other industry has so many businesses built on top of it as housing does.” 

  

Isakson recently completed a successful campaign to extend the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit through April 30. The credit was also expanded to give all homeowners a $6,500 credit who have been in their previous home for at least five years.

  

Additionally, Georgia also offered a $1,800 homebuyer tax credit that recently phased out after its six month span. We were the only state in the nation to offer a tax credit on home buying.

  

Georgia is home to some of the largest residential builders and suppliers in the country, including John Wieland, Beazer Homes, Home Depot and Georgia Pacific. If we focus our efforts on stimulating the housing market, we’ll put construction workers, painters, carpet manufacturers and so many others back to work. The number of peripheral industries affected by housing is staggering, which can only hope to survive within a thriving housing market. 

  

Georgia has done a good job of cultivating its business climate, and others are noticing that Georgia is a business and job friendly state. In its annual grading of state business climates, cable-network CNBC ranked Georgia’s workforce the best in the nation.

  

Sen. Chip Pearson can be reached at (404) 656-9921 or via e-mail at chip.pearson@senate.ga.gov.

 

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