By State Senator Ronnie Chance Georgia is open for business and will remain that way as long as we don’t raise taxes. During times of economic downturns and declining revenues, you will hear a variety of suggestions on how to turn around the economy. These suggestions can be as reasonable as tax incentives for job growth or as outlandish as raising taxes on struggling businesses and families. Raising taxes in Georgia is not an option. Georgia is poised for an economic turn-around utilizing free-market principles. Companies want to locate where taxes are low. Georgia has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates, ranking 42nd in the nation according to Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center. Georgia also ranks 35th in the nation on total per person tax burden, making jobs more attractive. By maintaining these low taxes, Georgia is attracting companies, growing jobs and turning around our economy. Over the next five years, our state should see growth of more than 22,000 jobs and investments over $560 million from companies relocating to Georgia. For example, NCR Corporation announced earlier this summer that is has selected Duluth, GA for its worldwide headquarters campus and Columbus, GA for a new North American manufacturing plant, bringing 2,000 additional jobs. Last year, NCR expanded services in Peachtree City investing over $15 million and creating 560 new jobs. Others companies locating in Georgia include: ’¢ Mitsubishi Power Systems (Savannah) = 500 jobs and $325 million ’¢ Belgian flooring manufacturer IVC Group = 115 jobs and $70 million. This will be the company’s first U.S. plant and locate in Dalton, GA. ’¢ Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Newnan) cancer treatment hospital = 500 jobs and $150 million ’¢ Chicken of the Sea International domestic canning operation (Lyons) = 200 jobs and $20 million. ’¢ Fortune 500 processing firm First Data Corp. plans to relocate its global headquarters to Atlanta = 1,000 employees over the next three years. The new Kia plant in West Point will be rolling off the first car produced in the U.S. on November 16. Kia built its first U.S. manufacturing plant at a cost of $1 billion and brought 1,200 much-needed jobs to the region and state. In addition, auto parts suppliers added approximately 3,000 jobs. Georgia Tech estimates that this plant will bring nearly 20,000 new jobs by 2012. Businesses are not the only ones who have noticed that Georgia is a business and job friendly state. In its annual grading of state business climates, CNBC ranked Georgia 10th in the nation. Georgia also earned high scores in the cost of living and business friendly categories. Governing Magazine named Georgia one of the best managed states in the U.S. Our state received high scores in managing for performance, the budget process and project monitoring. Georgia’s spending per capita ranks among the lowest in the nation. Stimulus dollars and government bailouts are not bringing companies and jobs to Georgia. Growing the private sector and getting Georgians back to work is the only formula for economic success. We must keep taxes, the cost of doing business, and regulatory burdens low. Georgia is on the brink of substantial job growth and company investment. Let’s not scare them away by raising taxes. # # # Sen. Ronnie Chance serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He represents the 16th Senate District which includes Lamar and Pike counties and portions of Fayette, Monroe and Spalding counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.651.7738 or via e-mail at email@example.com.