P&G tax break looks to save area jobs - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

P&G tax break looks to save area jobs

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County leaders plan to give Procter & Gamble a major tax break to try to help the company avoid more job cuts.

Monday afternoon, the Payroll Development Authority approved a bond up to $750,000,000. It would cut property taxes P&G pays to the county and school system by 40 percent next year. Procter & Gamble would still be one of the highest tax payers in the county.

Outgoing Plant manager Trey Bloodworth Monday said the way to build wealth in your community is to have three important industries, mining, manufacturing, and agriculture. We've seen huge manufacturing job losses in southwest Georgia in recent years. The move by the Payroll Development Authority looks to protect jobs at Albany Procter and Gamble plant and perhaps bring back some that were recently lost.

Since February, representative from the Payroll Development Authority and Procter & Gamble have been meeting weekly.  They reached an agreement that gives the company a break while keeping south Georgia jobs.

"It will be a 20 year tax abatement over that span of time which will reduce their property taxes which will help them become more competitive," said Jeff Sinyard, Payroll Development Authority Chairman.

For Procter and Gamble it's a reduction in property taxes by 40-percent starting in 2010. For Dougherty County and the school system it will be a loss, but the alternative may have been the loss of the plant's 1,000 jobs.

"In the short run this is going to be tough on the budget. The county this year we've decreased our budget by six percent, we're having no tax increase all of us are going through tough times all of us are having trouble both at home and in our businesses, but the other affect was so much larger in terms of a negative situation, this was the right thing to do for our folks," said Sinyard.

Outgoing plant manager Trey Bloodworth said in two years they've worked with the community to reduce the plant's health care costs by 17 percent, they're still at a 19 percent deficit when compared with other Procter & Gamble plant but the tax break goes a long way towards overcoming some of the obstacles they've faced.

"This is going to help, we still need to do those things with the sales tax on energy and so of those other opportune areas, but this is definitely a help for us," said Vince Falcione, Procter & Gamble External Affairs spokesman.

Georgia is one of the few states in the nation and the only state in the southeast that taxes energy, a big cost in Procter & Gamble's manufacturing process. They'll meet with the Dougherty County state delegation later in the week to discuss what more can be done on a state level.

"We have some needs down here and this is important for the long term success of manufacturing not just Procter and Gamble but manufacturing across the state," said Falcione.

PDA Chairman Jeff Sinyard said it was important in this new agreement that lump sum payments that will go to the school district from Procter & Gamble in 2014, 2019, 2021, 2028 will still be made. Of course the County Commission backed this measure, although their approval wasn't necessary.

Procter & Gamble cut 150 contract jobs in February and in May asked 300 employees to agree to separation packages with the company. Employees were given 45 days to weigh their options and decide if they're interested in the packages.

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