Around Georgia: Study says state’s ports are a jobs powerhouse


UGA center: 59 percent bump in harbor-related jobs in 15 years

A new study shows that Georgia’s deep water ports are the state’s “strongest economic engines” and account for 9 percent of the state’s employment. The study, supported by a Georgia Ports Authority grant, was done by Jeffrey Humphreys, the director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Savannahnow.com reports that the ports at Savannah and Brunswick supported 439,220 full- and part-time jobs in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s a jump of 59 percent from the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2003, when the ports supported 275,968 jobs, the paper reports. In the coastal region, which includes Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties, there are 58,741 port-related jobs. Chatham County has the lion’s share of the region’s jobs, with 39,025. In the Atlanta area’s 10-county region, there are 209,235 port-related jobs. “The ports are especially supportive of other forms of transportation, manufacturing, wholesale/distribution centers, and agriculture,” Humphreys wrote. “The outstanding performance of Georgia’s deep water ports, relative to other American ports, reflects strong competitive advantages that allowed Georgia’s ports to expand their share of activities. These advantages are largely the result of strategic investments in port facilities by the state of Georgia over many years.”

Bibb’s sales tax forecasts fall short of reality

Leaders in Macon-Bibb County are looking at more unwelcome financial news: a $12 million shortfall in revenue from the county’s special purpose sales tax. The tax, approved by voters in 2012, was forecast to raise $190 million over a six-year span, but it will bring in about $178 million when the tax ends Saturday, The Macon Telegraph is reporting. Voters approved the extra 1 percent sales tax with the understanding it would fund capital improvements, such as recreation centers, park upgrades, and road work. This year, local leaders asked lawmakers to approve legislation allowing them to put before Bibb voters a new sales tax to help the consolidated government. The proposal called for 50 percent of the new sales tax money to go to a tax rate rollback and the remainder to county operations. But members of the county’s legislative delegation were still at odds over how the tax revenue could be used as the 2018 legislative session winds down.

Likely bet: horse racing will be 2019 legislative topic

The ink hasn’t dried on bills from the 2018 Georgia General Assembly session and already there are signs of what may be on lawmakers’ agenda for next years. The Georgia Horse Racing Coalition is promoting the results of a new study on horse racing just as two lawmakers are planning bills on the topic in 2019. Advocates for horse racing will be armed with an economic study showing one horse racing facility in Georgia could have an economic impact of $1.2 billion. The coalition commissioned the study, The Albany Herald reports. Supporters of horse racing last brought the suggestion to lawmakers in 2017. State Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, said he will present the proposal to the House Rural Development Council and work with state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, to introduce legislation in the 2019 legislative session that would allow for three venues in different parts of the state. “A horse racing facility would create thousands of jobs, deliver tens of millions in new state and local tax dollars, and bring new revenues and business development to rural Georgia through its equine industry,” Harrell told The Albany Herald.

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