Valdosta - Tuesday, the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce told local lawmakers what they hope to get accomplished in next year's General Assembly.
Affordable health care is a problem all over the country, and Lowndes County is no exception. "We're going in the wrong direction, and more and more of our small businesses are just giving up their insurance policies and not even offering it to their employees," said Fred Wetherington.
That's why the issue tops the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce's 2005 legislative wish list. "Its not just a problem in South Georgia, but there are state policies we can work with that can help the problem," said Wetherington.
Another concern for the business community is keeping Georgia's sales tax holiday strong. Representative Ron Borders authored the bill that approved the holiday, and wants to broaden the tax-free list this year to help college students. "People coming here to set up an apartment can buy the items they need like pots, pans, dishes, blinds, ceiling fans, and get them tax free," said Borders.
Next on the Chamber's wish list is protecting our four major economic engines. Those are Valdosta State University, South Georgia Medical Center, Valdosta Technical College, and Moody Air Force Base. "We're always keeping our ears to the ground on what issues may positively or negatively affect them in the General Assembly," said Wetherington.
The Chamber also wants lawmakers to support the concept of creating legal reforms to benefit businesses from excessive damage costs due to lawsuits and continue the drug free workplace insurance discount.
Our local legislators say the Chamber's needs list is reachable, and they'll work to ensure each goal is accomplished.