State Sen. Chip Pearson, R-Dawsonville, was named Chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announced the reappointment last week.
Pearson said on Friday the time is critical for Georgia to take a good look at the way the state is creating jobs and make sure the state is doing everything possible to create more jobs than it loses.
“We may not be able to do much at the state level, but we think it’s critical to see what, if anything, we can do,” he said.
The state’s housing market, he said, is a good place to start.
“The catalyst to get past this downturn is to get people to buy again. So much in economic development depends on the housing market. The builder’s associations estimate they lost 200,000 jobs in Georgia in the last 18 months, jobs dependent on the housing market,” Pearson said.
As committee chair, Pearson said he will push to cut unnecessary red tape and regulations in the home lending industry to allow more people the opportunity to purchase homes.
“Right now, every job is a good job,” he said. “For too long we’ve been taking jobs for granted. Now, we know every job is a good job — not just the high paying jobs, but every job.”
While Georgia is creating jobs, the number of jobs being lost in the state is still higher, Pearson said.
“The metro-Atlanta area has the second largest job loss rate in the country. We have to fix that. We’ve got to look at the entire way we are going about enticing job creation in the state. The states around us are more than willing to pick up Georgia’s slack and offer compensation, in the form of incentives, more than we have in the past,” he said.
Following a meeting with members of the state Senate and House economic development committees last month to discuss the housing market and its effects on other industries, Pearson said, “The next step is to look at what we can do, whether it is a stimulus plan for the state, tax credits or maybe down payment assistance to buyers.”
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.