Growing Jobs and Increasing Productivity

November 12, 2010

Georgia is open for business and will remain that way as long as we continue to encourage investment and productivity. During times of economic downturns and declining revenues, you will hear a variety of suggestions on how to turn around the economy. Some of these suggestions can incentivize investment and growth, while others will discourage and overburden struggling businesses and families.

There is no question that the collapse of the housing market has had a major impact in Georgia. One would be hard pressed to find a family or business in Georgia that has not felt the effects of the housing market. I have felt these effects in my own business.

There is good news though. Georgia is positioned for recovery because we have kept our taxes low and we have not overburdened businesses with excessive regulations. The key to a successful free market economy is freedom and lower taxes, and that is exactly what we have done here in Georgia.

As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up by the handle.” Georgia has done a good job in positioning itself for recovery and other states and businesses are starting to take notice.

Companies want to locate where taxes are low. Georgia has become a sought after and welcome destination to businesses that are leaving other states because of higher taxes and burdensome regulations.

Georgia has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates, ranking 42nd in the nation according to Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center. 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 locate in Dalton, GA.
• 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 will be rolling off the first car produced in the U.S. on November 16. 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.

The Shaw Group will be expanding plant Vogtle in Waynesboro. This project will bring an estimated 3,500 jobs to the area and about 800 permanent jobs after the project is completed.

Businesses are not the only ones who have noticed 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. In addition to workforce, Georgia earned high scores in the cost of living and business friendly categories. Georgia’s overall ranking in the “2009 Cost of Doing Business” survey was 10th in the nation.

It was announced last week that Georgia has retained its Triple-A bond rating from all three rating agencies. The ratings – Aaa, AAA and AAA from Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s – are the highest available to government issuers and fetch the best interest rates. Georgia was one of just seven states to maintain the highest bond ratings possible.

Governing Magazine named Georgia one of the best managed states in the U.S. Our state received high scores in managing for performance, the budget process and project monitoring. What goes unnoticed to many people is that Georgia has accomplished all of this while being recognized for being ranked among the lowest in the nation in spending per capita. This means we are doing a lot more with a lot less.

Stimulus dollars and government bailouts are not bringing companies and jobs to Georgia. Growing the private sector and getting Georgians back to work is the only formula for economic success. We must keep taxes, the cost of doing business, and regulatory burdens low. There is no denying that there are still difficult decisions and days that lie ahead. That being said, Georgia has in my biased opinion, one of the best workforces in the country and possesses the ingenuity and creativity to prosper and flourish. We must get Georgia working again by continuing to make Georgia a business and job friendly state.


Sen. Tommie Williams serves as President Pro Tempore. He represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Toombs, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Liberty and Tattnall counties. He can be reached at 404.656.0089 or by email at