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Notes From the Senate
Sunday, 04 August 2013

August 4--  State Senator Jack Hill reports on where Georgia stands regarding economic development and other areas in his weekly column.


Last week, we began examining Georgia's economic development efforts and the role the Governor and the Legislature play in supporting those efforts.  Georgia starts out with some inherent advantages, climate, cost of living, pro-business attitude and an education system mostly focused on producing a successful workforce.  This week, we begin examining the vital elements of infrastructure and Georgia's unique strengths.



Despite the prolonged economic downturn and tightening state budget, Georgia continues to create jobs and remains an industry leader in agribusiness and advanced manufacturing. More than 3,000 unique companies representing over 50 countries reside within the state and generate over 600 million tons of goods worth more than $1 trillion. Many of these companies are Fortune 500 powerhouses and include several Georgia Grown businesses like the Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot, Delta Airlines, UPS, and Aflac.


 In addition to growth in traditional industries, Georgia has emerged as a new leader in film production, bioscience, and aerospace.  The Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Ports Authority, and Department of Community Affairs work in tandem with local governments and development authorities to create an ideal environment for growth for large and small businesses alike. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia added 69,000 jobs from April 2012 to April 2013 faring well above neighboring states such as Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Additionally, unemployment decreased in Georgia from 9.1% to 8.3% while the national jobless rate remained relatively unchanged.  In June the rate was 8.6%.



Major transportation hubs within the state are attractive to businesses looking to relocate to the area. Strong infrastructure decreases shipping time and allows businesses to remain competitive and cost efficient in their activities. Accessibility to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Savannah and Brunswick Ports, and expansive rail lines maintain the state's competitive edge for businesses that rely on moving products across the nation easily.


For example, three industries, Nordic, Haier and Kent Bicycles, completing warehouse facilities near the port, all cited the efficient access to ground transportation and the timely advantage that the close-by highways and rail system gave in getting imports to their customers both in the Southeast and throughout the eastern half of the United States.


Fifteen interstate highways and two transcontinental highways intersect Georgia, linking many cities and towns to the rest of the nation.  This coordinated network of transit modes remains an attractive feature for international companies looking to expand within the U.S.  According to the October 2012 edition of Business Facilities Magazine, Georgia ranks 3rd for best transportation infrastructure beating out California, New York, and Tennessee for a top ranked spot. Continual maintenance and improvement of ports, rail lines, roads, airports, and warehouses enable Georgia-based business to move freight effortlessly.


NEXT WEEK:  A review of the elements of Georgia's key infrastructure demonstrates why other states may offer outlandish incentives to bring in new industry in competition with Georgia.



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