Each year, the Augusta Metro Chamber develops a State of Georgia Legislative Agenda that includes both proactive statements and responsive positions on matters affecting our state and the Augusta, GA community. Key components of the Chamber’s State Legislative Agenda for 2014 Georgia General Assembly Session are below.
- Transportation Funding- The Augusta Metro Chamber generally supports efforts to increase funding available for transportation. Such efforts should not negatively impact TIA regions, or place different areas of the state at an advantage or disadvantage. Proposals should bring benefit to all of Georgia and not negatively impact the overall business climate. Read More >>
- Statewide Funding Balance- Currently, transportation funds in Georgia are partially distributed based on congressional district. This system assures all segments of the state receive a fair share of transportation improvements. However, this system is difficult to manage effectively due to the design of district boundaries. Modification to this system to improve the efficiency and flexibility of transportation improvements should be made. Any new system must still provide for the guaranteed distribution of funds to all sections of the state; any proposal lacking a mechanism to fairly distribute funding, recognizing the varying legitimate needs of regions of the state, should be rejected.
- Regulation- Water is essential to the economic and environmental health of all parts of Georgia. The State of Georgia should assure that water is regulated so that no part of the state is favored above others; along with allowing the flexibility to manage water resources within localized areas to provide an essential resource for people and business alike.
- Interbasin Transfer- The Savannah River is a priceless resource for metro Augusta, and is integral to our economic wellbeing. This resource should be for the use of those who live adjacent to the water source and not sent to distant parts of Georgia or South Carolina. The Augusta Metro Chamber supports the reasonable restriction of movement of water between river basins.
- Reform- The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce believes that it is appropriate that Georgia examine its tax structure to look for ways to fiscally modernize revenue sources. In particular the Chamber believes that improvements to broaden the base of tax revenue in a way that creates a stable source of government funding that is fair and promotes economic development is important to preparing our state for tomorrow.
- Municipal Excise Tax on Energy- Rising energy costs have a large impact on Augusta area industry, already competing in a globalized economy. An exemption of both state and local sales tax applied on energy costs is an important and significant step in providing Georgia’s manufacturers with a competitive advantage, especially with bordering states and other counties within Georgia.
- Technology Infrastructure- As Augusta’s technology related economic sector continues to grow, it is important that Georgia keeps pace with other states in the attraction of companies requiring sophisticated infrastructure, plentiful fiber connectivity and competitive energy costs. We support the adoption of tax credits and incentives focused on the attraction of businesses in the technology and cyber security sectors.
Education and Workforce Development
- Public K-12- The Augusta Metro Chamber believes that efforts to enhance graduations rates and enhance learning experiences, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math should be an important priority for our state as well as our local school districts. Additionally, efforts that will align educational opportunities and apply learning skills necessary for high demand and/or strategic, future workforce needs are critical to the success of business growth.
- Augusta Technical College- Augusta Tech is an important part of our regional educational infrastructure. As ATC continues to grow and offer a wider variety of vital educational opportunities it is important that funding to support its many missions keeps pace.
- Georgia Regents University Augusta-
- The Chamber recognizes that the Board of Regents has made, and will make, tremendous investment in our city in order to achieve its goal of meeting the healthcare demands of Georgia’s growing population and the goal of ensuring Georgia’s University System is preeminent in the world. The dental school, education commons, and cancer research funds totaling $139 million from FY08 to FY13 and a request for $60 million in FY14, are strong signs of the commitment to our shared goals and a great economic boost for our local economy.
- The Augusta Metro Chamber supports the quality development of the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property, now in the possession of the Georgia Board of Regents. Efforts to develop a plan that will lead to development of this property in a way that will grow the consolidated university and downtown Augusta should be supported at all levels.
Fort Gordon is the largest single employer in Augusta and an important part of our nation’s defense. It is important that Georgia continue to pursue policy initiatives that make our state and Fort Gordon in particular, a location that is friendly to our nation’s military, its personnel and retirees. The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce supports Fort Gordon. Read More >>
Civil Justice Reform
The Augusta Metro Chamber supports improvements in Georgia’s civil justice system. These changes will protect Georgia’s standing as a business friendly state, as well as help maintain our health care quality. The Chamber opposes any effort to roll back civil justice reform.