Building Business In Georgia & District 13

 Becky Hites

June 8, 2020


When businesses consider where to locate, many factors come into the decision (in no particular order): 1) how business friendly is the state, 2) how business friendly is the county; 3) how business friendly is the town; 4) what tax incentives are being offered by the city; 5) what tax incentive programs exist in the state; 6) what federal tax incentives apply to the location, i.e. opportunity zones; 7) is the infrastructure (highways and education) in place to support the needs of the business; 8) is there a ready labor force in the community with the skill set to support the business; 9) are the community leaders supportive of business in general and the business that you’re considering bringing into the community specifically (for construction permits, environmental approvals, etc.); 10) are the community citizens in favor of new business in general and your business specifically coming into the community; 11) have the experiences of previous businesses who have moved into the community been successful; and 12) is there potential for the business to grow (i.e. convenient markets within a 10 mile, 100 mile, 1,000 mile and broader geography.


Starting and/or moving a business is a risky venture and requires as many support mechanisms as can be identified and utilized as possible to help ensure success.


The State of Georgia has a mixed record with it comes to being “business friendly.”  The Hope Scholarship (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) established under Governor Zell Miller in 1993 brought many families to the state for the opportunities made available to their children through this program which funded college for all B students and above who were residents in the state.  There are tax incentives for several industries in the state – the film industry and the airline industry to name a few.  Governor Kemp has instituted tax incentive programs to facilitate consideration of the bottom performing counties and cities. 


HOWEVER, we have feedback from our restructuring/investment banking network that there are some punitive regressive small business taxes buried in the state code that tanked at least one deal two years ago.


Business growth doesn’t just “happen” from stating you desire it.  Hope is not a plan. 


A pie-in-the-sky plan that doesn’t include a detailed execution strategy isn’t going to be effective. 

States that are successful in attracting new businesses have strong teams aggressively pitching the state and wooing new businesses.  The Savannah Port has a proven track record of growth.


We intend to duplicate the Port’s successes by creating coalitions of community business leaders and citizen activists to identify what types of growth are desired by the towns in District 13, and then to work with community leadership and our representatives at the state capital to enlist existing programs and create new ones where necessary to increase the effectiveness of District 13’s presentations to solicit new businesses to locate in our communities, creating local job opportunites for our citizens.

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