Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Making Georgia more competitive when it comes to economic development

By: Raquel Rodriguez

COLUMBUS, Ga. - State and community leaders from the peach state attended the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative meeting to help make sure the state stays at the top of its game when it comes to economic development.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said Muscogee County is competitive when it comes to attracting businesses but there are some areas we need help in.

“We need to find a better way to partner, we need to find a way to get very good incentive packages for some of these companies that are looking, we have great labor markets but we could use a better more educated workforce,” said Tomlinson.

Mayor Tomlinson echoed the same sentiments that many state leaders have, that the peach state needs to stay attractive in this tough business climate.

“We're actually a leader in the United States but through these economic times other states in the south east especially have sort of closed the gap with Georgia,” said Chris Cummiskey, the Georgia Commissioner of Economic Development.

Cummiskey said transportation improvements would help further that gap since good transportation plays a key role in attracting business.

“Companies around the world when it comes to this day in age it’s all about speed if they are going to produce their manufacturing goods here they got to get raw materials in and goods out if they can't do that in a timely fashion there going to go somewhere else,” said Cummiskey.

Finding the funds for transportation fix ups could be put to a vote in regions through Georgia.

“It’s not a state wide referendum but to send it to the different regions and allow the regions the opportunity to tax themselves an extra penny,” said Tomlinson.

While every region has specific needs when it comes to staying competitive, Georgia’s Secretary of State said cutting through red tape and regulations for businesses has been unanimous.

“If there is a redundant rule an outdated law whatever it is send it to us we'll look at it help vet it and then we'll work with either boards or the legislature to help repeal it,” said Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State.

According to the Commissioner of Economic Development, the peach state ranks around 5th or 6th place in the United States for doing business.

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