Georgia GOP leaders trumpet another top ranking by national business trade publication

Gov. Brian Kemp announces that Georgia has been named the best state for business for the 10th year as former Gov. Nathan Deal stands next to him. Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder

Georgia has been named the top state for business for the 10th year by Area Development Magazine.

The designation is from an executive magazine focused on site selection and relocation that won’t be found on the average living room coffee table. But Georgia’s dominance in the ranking has provided steady fodder for Republican leaders when touting the state’s economic strength as well as critics who often use it as a foil when highlighting other areas where the state may be falling short.

And on Tuesday, Gov. Brian Kemp stood outside the governor’s mansion in Buckhead and credited the No. 1 state status with helping to grow Georgia’s economy. Next to him stood former Gov. Nathan Deal, who was in office when the state first rose to the top spot.

“I’m so glad that Gov. Deal is with us today because when he first announced that Georgia had earned this ranking, and certainly throughout my tenure in office, the Atlanta paper would make fun of this award saying it came from a small niche outlet that no one’s ever heard of. But I will tell you the proof is in the numbers,” Kemp said.

Kemp said about 344,000 jobs have been created in the last decade where the state played a role.

The magazine, which is read by senior executives and other corporate players, says it consulted with a panel of experts who looked at 14 factors, such as incentives and the overall cost of doing business as well as issues like energy availability and costs. Of the categories used, Georgia sat at the top of seven of them.

A long list of state elected officials joined Kemp for the celebration, which took place as demonstrators stood across the street and held signs with messages like “Incarcerated Lives Matter” in protest of prison conditions in Georgia.

Tuesday’s announcement also comes as state lawmakers in both chambers review all Georgia’s tax incentives, including the ones offered to companies that relocate or expand here. That committee will meet in Athens Wednesday with plans to spend part of the day discussing Georgia’s film tax credit.

“Georgia is competitive, but we aren’t overly competitive. And I think we’re in a great place to continue to do the right things,” Pat Wilson, commissioner of the state Department of Economic Development, told reporters Tuesday. “So, my advice to the commission would be if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Wilson argued the state’s incentives do right by taxpayers because companies “actually have to produce something in order to realize an incentive.” 


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