Lawmakers propose tax break for manufacturers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lawmakers propose tax break for manufacturers

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March 7, 2006

Valdosta - The printers at U.S. Press run 13 hours a day, six days a week. "They use a lot of electricity," said David Newbern, U.S. Press Manager.

They print hundreds of thousands of materials each day, and that makes for one lofty power bill. "With everything escalating, we’ve got to have relief in some form," said Newbern.

That much needed relief may be in sight through House Bill 209. The bill would give Georgia businesses a tax exemption on the cost of natural gas or electricity used in the production of manufactured goods. "Georgia is one of only 10 states in the country that has a tax on energy used in manufacturing, none of the other southern states do," said Tom Gooding, Legislative Affairs Chairman.

Tom Gooding chairs the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Affairs Committee and is lobbying for the bill. He says the tax exemption would allow manufacturers to lower the prices of their goods and services. "Any business that has a lower operating cost, they’re able to sell their goods more competitively," said Gooding.

More competitive prices means more business, resulting in more jobs for Georgia. Since 1998, the state has lost more than 130,000 manufacturing jobs. "This bill is not about tax policy, its about protecting jobs and making Georgia’s products more competitive," said Gooding.

The bill was introduced early in the 2005 session but is still stuck in House committees. Manufacturers like Newbern are hoping lawmakers will take action soon, to give Georgia businesses the edge they need to stay competitive in a global market.

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