In Savannah, Georgia on Friday, September 24, 2010, Gubernatorial Candidate Roy Barnes told a group there that he plans to pursue $300 million dollars in tax breaks for job creation in Georgia. He further told that state contracts would be denied to firms that outsource jobs to overseas workers.
As a Georgia native and a lifetime Georgia resident who has watched too many of my friends and family lose jobs because of overseas outsourcing, I have to say that it is about time.
According to the Associated Press and reprinted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, he told the economic development group gathered in Georgia’s oldest city, “It’s time we get serious that it’s our people who need jobs.”
Could this run against some trade agreements that Georgia has with other countries? Barnes does not seem to be concerned by this, and related that he did not care how large a company was, they would not be allowed to compete for state contracts if they did not create jobs in Georgia.
We here in Georgia desperately need job creation. The national unemployment rate was 9.6% in August 2009. Overall, in Georgia, the unemployment rate for August 2009 was an even 10%. Let’s take that a little further-in Northwest Georgia, which lies about an hour above Atlanta, the unemployment rate is 10.7%.
Jobs are hard to come by in my area of the state. Those who have them hold onto them and with no new jobs available, those who lost them are finding it hard to find another in the region.
Many simply do not have the funds to go looking for employment near Atlanta and metro areas. It takes a lot of gasoline to drive around the state searching for employment that might be just an illusion. When it comes to a choice of eating or filling up a tank with gas for a futile search, most folks choose the meager plate of food.
Besides, metro Atlanta fares little better. Atlanta’s 2009 August unemployment rate was 10.3%. There seems to be more jobs in the metro area, but that is just because the population is larger. The pool of applicants is equally large.
As a mother of two, I would like to secure a part-time job to help with some expenses. Businesses in our area do not even have to place a want ad to find employees. Even the minimum wage positions in the mills or at the local fast food joints sometimes have 200 or more applicants for one open position. They just place a sign in the window and a few hours later they have to remove it when they become swamped with applicants.
I am a Georgia taxpayer. The last thing I want to see is mine and my husband’s hard-earned money we pay in taxes each year awarded to companies that send the money overseas. Roy Barnes’ principle that he wants to pursue is absolutely correct. If a company creates no Georgia jobs, they get no state contracts-period. We have to get Georgia back to work. Let the legal eagles employed by Georgia handle trade agreements, if legalities even exist on these agreements. Money is money-they will always meet our terms if money is involved.
Opponent Nathan Deal (R), who is battling financial woes and facing personal bankruptcy, feels the solution is to let a committee look at ways to give tax breaks to new businesses in the first three years.
I feel that is a grand ideal for the future. Right now, we have to keep the cash flow in Georgia-period. Our Georgia tax dollars must go to employ unemployed Georgians.
Sources: Georgia Department of Labor, AJC Political Insider with Jim Galloway, Roy Barnes for Governor, Nathan Deal for Governor