ATLANTA (April 20, 2011) – New job creation is critical to Georgia’s economy, and Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday he is working on several programs to ensure the state is in a position to compete with – and beat – other states and countries when attracting new business.
In the current economic development environment, Georgia “is in competition with every other state,” the governor said during a speech at the Atlanta Press Club. “Sometimes that competition is very, very vicious.”
Deal, who visited Carter during his successful gubernatorial campaign, outlined several actions to keep Georgia competitive. They included the creation of the state’s Competition Initiative and beefing up of the pool of money for Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) grants.
The Competition Initiative, which will meet for the first time next week, will help answer the question,”What other things can the state of Georgia do to be more competitive,” Deal said. The initiative will be a cooperative effort among the governor’s office, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and others.
“With all of these various entities working together, we think we’ll produce some very good results,” the governor said.
That’s would be good news for developers. Job creation fuels demand for all types of commercial properties, especially office and retail.
Deal said the state also is allotting more money to fund REBA grants, which are designed to spur job creation. Since 2000, REBA grants have helped create 8,300 new jobs in Georgia, Deal said. Moreover, REBA grants played a role in attracting the new Kia plant in West Point and winning two major headquarters relocations – NCR to Gwinnett County from Dayton, Ohio, and Newell Rubbermaid to Sandy Springs from the Midwest.
Creating new jobs also will help Georgia’s housing market, which he told AJC reporter Rachel Tobin “is truly one of the most troubling parts of our economy.” Tobin asked the governor what his office could do to help the residential real estate market rebound, and while Deal said the issue impacts local municipalities more than the state, it’s still something he’s very concerned about.
“What we have to do is create greater job opportunities,” he said. That in turn will help the residential market by creating new demand for homes and giving residents the income they need to purchase homes.