Economic Development News from the Georgia Senate

By Senator Jim Butterworth

This week, the state legislature completed four more legislative days and is moving along very quickly. Committees began deliberating legislation and taking on the big issues of jobs and the economy. Among them was a Joint Economic Development Meeting. As a member of the Senate Economic Development Committee, I am working with my colleagues to bring much-needed jobs to our great state and Northeast Georgia.

The Economic Development committee gathered experts on the economy and jobs to provide an economic outlook and make recommendations on how to jump-start Georgia’s economy. Economist Robert Pretcher noted that despite Congress passing the biggest spending bill in history last February, jobs continue to crumble.  “This is graphic evidence that the stimulus package is part of the problem,” he said. We must focus on reducing spending and cutting waste as it is a proven root cause of this economic downturn.

Roger Tutterow, professor of economics at Mercer University, highlighted the effect that the downturn in construction had on jobs.  Georgia’s heavy exposure in the construction and real estate sector is a large part of why the state ranks among the top ten states in job loss. In order to move forward, Tutterow encouraged us to consider broad-based tax reform that is comprehensive, rather than focused on only one sector.

Not one expert discussed spending more and raising taxes on the American people. This is our promise to the people of Georgia: we must balance a budget without any added burden on the tax payer. This principle will create an environment for growth. Small businesses and corporations can’t survive, much less grow, with heavy tax burdens from the state. If there is growth, development will follow, meaning more companies will look to Georgia as a place to do business.

We have seen incremental growth in Georgia in the last year, but it is not enough. Kia opened a plant and brought 1,200 much-needed jobs to the state.  In addition, auto parts suppliers added approximately 3,000 jobs.  Georgia Tech estimates that this plant will bring nearly 20,000 new jobs by 2012. In Northeast Georgia, RITZ Instrument Transformers brought 50 jobs and $3 million in investments and Team Metal Finishing brought 12 jobs and $2 million in investments. These numbers may seem small in comparison but each job takes some burden away from a family and I am grateful for that.

Throughout the Legislative Session, the Senate and House Economic Development committees will continue discussing ways the legislature can encourage growth in Georgia’s job sector. We understand that people throughout America, Georgia, and the 50th Senatorial district of Georgia are hurting from a lack of jobs and growth, and an abundance of taxes. The key to economic stimulus, survival and growth is jobs, jobs, jobs.

As always, I am honored to serve you, the 50th Senatorial district. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sen. Jim Butterworth represents the 50th Senate District which includes Towns, Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, Banks, Franklin, and Hart counties along with a portion of White County. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.5257 or by email at

For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2010
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Deputy Director
Katie Wright, Communications Associate