Three of the state’s top economic development leaders came together on Tuesday to provide a mid-year update on efforts to retain and attract new companies to Georgia. Ken Stewart, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), George Israel, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Sam A. Williams, President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, reflected upon 2009 achievements and discussed all that is being done to ensure that Georgia remains an attractive destination for business.
“While the current economy remains a challenge, there are two important concepts we must not lose sight of. First, our state possesses an unparalleled set of assets that will continue to attract a wide variety of industries,” commented Commissioner Stewart. “Second, we have a statewide community of economic development professionals who remain focused on promoting Georgia as the world’s top choice for business.”
Commissioner Stewart also reported GDEcD’s fiscal year 2009 results, noting that project locations were up and that the department is currently fielding a record number of “qualified active projects.”
The three leaders agreed that no success would be possible without Georgia’s elected leadership and their willingness to support tax incentives such as the mega-tax credit that attracted NCR earlier this year.
“We are fortunate to have leaders committed to maintaining an attractive business climate and to ensuring that Georgia’s overall corporate tax burden keeps us competitive,” said Israel. “This, combined with their focus on quality of life issues such as education, transportation and health care sends a strong signal that our state is a place where people want to live and businesses can thrive. It sends an equally strong signal that organizations like ours are working hand-in-hand for the good of our state.”
The leaders emphasized the importance of not only maintaining Georgia’s current assets, but seeking out opportunities to prepare for the future. One example cited was the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s New Economy Task Force, whose findings were released earlier this month.
“The Chamber is planning now for the post-recession ‘new economy,’ ”added Williams. “Smart cities across the nation are being proactive, looking ahead now to align their job-growth strategies with marketplace realities so they can play to win in this new economy. Atlanta is one of those cities. We need to look ahead to more quality jobs. We constantly need to reinvent ourselves to continue to be a competitive region and state.”