Legislative panel attracts experts to KSU
Committee studies manufacturing in Georgia
(Dec 8, 2008) — Georgia does a pretty good job at attracting manufacturers‚ but as competition for
these jobs intensifies the state can do better at offering incentives‚ said experts
talking at KSU Dec. 4 at a session of a joint legislative panel studying the future
of manufacturing in Georgia.
“We just have to be more competitive than ever‚ work harder than ever in landing the jobs‚” said Ken Stewart‚ commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “We’re competing worldwide now.”
The competition for these jobs‚ he said‚ comes not only from neighboring states such as Alabama and South Carolina‚ but from far away countries like Malaysia and Germany. Plus‚ some of the incentives offered to manufacturers here –– such as jobs credits –– are too complicated‚ and Georgia is the only state in the Southeast that taxes energy for manufacturers‚ the experts said.
A joint House and Senate committee was created earlier this year to study the future of manufacturing in Georgia. KSU and the Coles College of Business hosted the last of four sessions featuring experts. The panel‚ chaired by Sen. Chip Rogers and Rep. Allen Peake‚ will issue recommendations.
Georgia’s manufacturing sector is certainly under pressure. The state lost 20‚000 manufacturing jobs from October 2007 to October 2008‚ Stewart said. Manufacturing now employs 405‚000 people in Georgia‚ and accounts for 10 percent of jobs.
KSU economics professor Don Sabbarese‚ director of the Econometric Center at the Coles College‚ said that manufacturing has taken a big hit. Employment is down to recession levels.
“The manufacturing sector in Georgia is pretty much shutting down right now‚” he said.
John Gornall‚ a partner at the law firm Arnall Golden Gregory who assisted the with the successful negotiations for the $1.2 billion KIA auto assembly plant‚ said that to become more attractive to manufacturers‚ the state needs to do a better job at preparing students in science and math and paying more to teachers in these fields. Also‚ Georgia can offer more aggressive and less complicated incentives to manufacturers‚ he said.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.