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Senator Golden: Energy tax hurts economy

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November 20, 2007

Valdosta - State Senator Tim Golden of Valdosta says there's a sales tax that's played a roll in the loss of over 130,000 manufacturing jobs and is keeping many industries from creating new ones.

But despite the hit to the economy, he still can't get any other law makers to do something about it.

It's the energy sales tax and it's costing manufacturers in the state millions of dollars  "Energy has become a major cost. It's the number one and number two cost for most manufacturers," Golden says.

To ease this burden and keep the economy rolling, every state in the southeast has exempted or drastically reduced the taxes manufacturers are paying on energy. That is, every state but Georgia.

Giving us a competitive disadvantage when recruiting new industry.  "Its an extra burden for us to overcome on a local level to recruit manufacturers when they are charged additional costs here. Its more expenses from a sales tax standpoint to be in Valdosta than it is to be in," says Brad Lofton of the Valdosta and Lowndes County Industrial Authority.

And a hard time convincing existing businesses to expand here when they can do it for less money in a sister state.

Many of them are now calling for action!  "Its time now to do away with that sales tax and provide an exemption for manufacturers that creates so many jobs in Georgia and provides such a large impact to the state," Lofton says.

Golden has been working to do this since 1996 but says his pleas are falling on deaf ears.  "I think a lot of people view that we are a service economy now and don't quite recognize that manufacturers are still a vital part of our economy."

Golden supported a bill last year that would have provided some relief by capping the energy tax.  But it was vetoed by the governor.

He's hoping to rally enough support to change the law next year.

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