Governor Brings News of a Recovering State Economy

Clark Byron

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

The regular monthly meetings of the World Trade Center- Savannah and the Savannah Economic Development Authority usually take place in the SEDA/WTC-Savannah building on Hutchinson Island. However, the meetings were moved to the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center to accommodate a significantly larger audience. The expanded attendance was due to the fact that Governor Nathan Deal was to address the SEDA board of directors.

The 82nd governor of Georgia brought volumes of good economic news to a capacity crowd. Being campaign season, Deal, who is seeking a second term as governor, spoke exclusively of the state’s economic progress during his term as Governor.

He began with a statement of commendation for the accomplishments of SEDA over the past three years. “You have one of the leading organizations in terms of economic development and you should be proud of what you do,” said Deal. “And not only for this part of the state, but for the impact of it that certainly spreads throughout our state, and I thank you for that.”

The Governor launched into his 20-minute presentation by citing the much-repeated fact that Georgia was recently ranked the number 1 state in which to do business, namely, Site Selection Magazine and CNBC. “Yes, we are the number one state in the nation in which to do business,” he affirmed. “That is not just a chamber of commerce cleche’. It has meaning. Let me tell you some of the statistics that give it meaning.”

Deal said that since he was elected governor in 2011, there have been 12,500 new businesses sprout up in Georgia. “We are rapidly approaching 300,000 new private sector jobs in that same timeframe,” said Deal. “The latest number is 294,000.” Deal said the economic impact of these new businesses is substantial. “The economic development investment alone amounts to some $17.3 billion of new capital investment in that same timeframe, in our state,” he said. 

He also offered what he called a close-to-home illustration: “The Port of Savannah has had a record year,” he continued. “In 2013, we are told that $37.6 billion in exports left from our state. That is truly tremendous.” Deal said that this is a recognition of the fact that several members of the General Assembly, many of whom were present at Tuesday’s meeting, have made key reforms possible – reforms that, according to Deal, have made the Port of Savannah’s export business more successful. “Our agriculture community, which is a staple of our economy, has continued to grow and prosper,” he said. “Perhaps more importantly, it has continued to diversify. I am amazed each time I talk to someone in the agricultural community about new products that are coming onto the market that are actually being produced right here in our state.”

Deal explained the various stages by which economic growth has occurred in Georgia. “We decided that if we were going to grow ourselves out of this great recession, one of the best ways we could do that is to ask the business community what they think we should do,” said Deal. “We did that, and the bottom line is that we decided we could be a manufacturing state once again.”

Georgia CEO will have more about the Governor’s comments tomorrow.