Issues: Economy

Georgia lawmaker pushes for Amazon to collect more taxes from shoppers

Georgia lawmaker pushes for Amazon to collect more taxes from shoppers

Amazon began collecting sales tax on items it sells in Georgia four years ago after a push from state lawmakers. Now, state leaders in Georgia and throughout the country are setting their sights on the mega-retailer again — this time, to collect taxes from the third-party merchants that sell through its site. The extra tax dollars would be a boon to state governments, but would end...
Georgia Power CEO: Pitch for Amazon HQ2 about showing Atlanta’s ‘heart’

Georgia Power CEO: Pitch for Amazon HQ2 about showing Atlanta’s ‘heart’

If you had the opportunity to show Amazon around Atlanta as it hunts for a site for its second headquarters and 50,000 jobs — where would you take the e-commerce giant? For Paul Bowers, CEO of Georgia Power, such a visit wouldn’t just entail tours of land and shimmering glass office towers that might be suitable for HQ2. To sell the Seattle behemoth on metro Atlanta, Bowers said in a recent...
Atlanta survives the first cut in Amazon’s HQ2 sweepstakes

Atlanta survives the first cut in Amazon’s HQ2 sweepstakes

Amazon narrowed its list of potential communities for its massive second headquarters on Thursday to a final grouping that includes Atlanta and 19 others in the U.S. and Canada, setting off a battle royale for a project promising prestige and 50,000 high-paying jobs. Georgia and metro Atlanta leaders hailed the news, while noting much work remains to hone the pitch for the project known as HQ2...
Metro Atlanta, Georgia officials to present united front to nab Amazon

Metro Atlanta, Georgia officials to present united front to nab Amazon

Georgia’s full-fledged competition for Amazon’s second headquarters has entered a new and unpredictable phase now that it’s on the tech giant’s short list. But the state’s hunt for another major headquarters three years ago could provide valuable clues into its strategy for winning the project. Georgia’s long courtship of Mercedes-Benz for its USA&rsquo...
Rural council promises results, asks for patience

Rural council promises results, asks for patience

House Speaker David Ralston on Monday said rural Georgia can’t afford to wait for the next election to find progress and solutions. “Rural Georgia cannot wait on political seasons to come and go because they will always come and go,” the Blue Ridge Republican told the first meeting of the House Rural Development Council. “I refuse to allow any personal ambitions to get in the...
Trump bumps up funds for Savannah harbor deepening, but short of hopes

Trump bumps up funds for Savannah harbor deepening, but short of hopes

The project to deepen Savannah’s harbor got a boost this week from President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, just not as much of a lift as some backers of Georgia’s ports wanted to see. Boosters had hoped for about $100 million in the fiscal 2018 budget to dredge the Savannah River, but the White House’s spending plan of $50 million, while a high-water mark...
Boosters slam feds’ decision to withhold money from Savannah project

Boosters slam feds’ decision to withhold money from Savannah project

Georgia’s public officials were caught off guard Thursday after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency tasked with overseeing the project to deepen Savannah’s harbor, decided against giving the effort any extra money. Boosters of the state’s top development project were counting on the federal agency to send tens of millions of additional dollars on the venture...
Georgia peaches: 80 percent of state’s crop lost

Georgia peaches: 80 percent of state’s crop lost

It will not be a peachy summer for Georgia growers of the iconic fruit. Nearly 80 percent of the state’s peach crop was wiped out this year by a combination of an overly warm winter and a hard freeze in early spring, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. The loss comes after a similarly devastating blow this year to the blueberry crop. All...
As Georgia chases Amazon, a new ‘religious liberty’ debate looms

As Georgia chases Amazon, a new ‘religious liberty’ debate looms

The Accenture executive was asked an awkward question as he stood next to Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed: Would he be announcing an 800-jobs deal if Georgia had adopted a “religious liberty” bill a year ago? The executive, Jimmy Etheredge, danced around the issue. “Georgia’s reputation of being business-friendly is a great one,” he said, adding that it...
Senate mulls arbitration bill despite Equifax about-face

Senate mulls arbitration bill despite Equifax about-face

Republican leaders are reportedly mulling whether to bring to the Senate floor a bill that would nullify an Obama-era consumer protection regulation aimed curtailing a practice used by many corporations to keep potential class action lawsuits out of court. The debate comes three weeks after a public outcry compelled the Atlanta-based Equifax to quickly drop so-called forced arbitration language...
Hurricane Irma forces halt to marketing of homes on Sea Island spit

Hurricane Irma forces halt to marketing of homes on Sea Island spit

Developers have halted marketing of the site of proposed upscale housing on an undeveloped piece of land on Sea Island after Hurricane Irma damaged the property. Sea Island President Scott Steilen said the storm damaged part of the unprotected area of the island off the Georgia coast. Environmentalists counter that at The Reserve at Sea Island, the damage is man-made — by Sea Island Co...
Credit bureau lobby steps up industry image polishing following breach

Credit bureau lobby steps up industry image polishing following breach

The Atlanta credit bureau Equifax ramped up its spending over the last three months to lobby the federal government and protect its image as it took fire for exposing the personal records of more than 145 million Americans. Its two main competitors, meanwhile, shifted their resources in order to do the same. New federal records released this week show Equifax increased its budget to lobby Congress...
In Georgia, NAFTA has hurt some while lifting others

In Georgia, NAFTA has hurt some while lifting others

Rebba Storey slid a cup and a blueberry muffin across the smooth, maroon counter at the Jam-N-Java Bakery, smiling at her only customer on a recent sunny afternoon. She skated a hand across the shiny top, pointing to cuts in the dark-stained surface, notches long ago seared into the wood that were later sanded and shellacked. “This was part of Lanett Mill,” Storey said. That plant wasn&rsquo...
Senate’s tax bill would aid Delta’s push to punish Persian Gulf rivals

Senate’s tax bill would aid Delta’s push to punish Persian Gulf rivals

For the past two years, Delta Air Lines has spearheaded a campaign to get Washington policymakers to punish some of its fiercest fast-growing competitors from the Persian Gulf. The Atlanta-based carrier’s push has been largely fruitless so far — but that may soon change if a provision tucked into the U.S. Senate tax bill becomes law. U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., added language to his...
Georgia businesses hail tax bill, but whether growth comes isn’t clear

Georgia businesses hail tax bill, but whether growth comes isn’t clear

Georgia’s corporate interests and conservative lawmakers hailed this week’s passage of the Republican rewrite of the nation’s tax code. But whether the divisive bill will be the jobs and investment bonanza that its backers say it will be must be taken with a grain of salt, some experts say. Within hours of Congress sending the overhaul to President Donald Trump’s desk...
As Irma smashes Georgia, Atlanta gets taste of Waffle House Index

As Irma smashes Georgia, Atlanta gets taste of Waffle House Index

It’s open for holidays, during epic storms and disastrous floods. So when Hurricane Irma’s remnants struck the heart of Atlanta, it was fitting that the Waffle House smack in the middle of its hometown was teeming with customers. “I think if I eat another waffle, I’m going to turn into a waffle,” said Lauren Seyranian, a 21-year-old student who loaded up on carbs before...
Kempner: It’s not a new toothpaste. Georgia city adopts a brand name

Kempner: It’s not a new toothpaste. Georgia city adopts a brand name

A city is not a brand of toothpaste. But there are times when it gets treated like one. Leaders and residents of a new Georgia city on the south side of metro Atlanta spent weeks coming up with a new name for their community of nearly 90,000 people. It was an exercise in Branding 101, with a clear feeling that money and business might be on the line. They wanted a name that would attract employers...
Amazon to open warehouse in Macon and hire more than 500

Amazon to open warehouse in Macon and hire more than 500

E-commerce giant Amazon said Tuesday it will open a new “fulfillment center” in Macon as part of its mission to speed up delivery of products to consumers. The warehouse and distribution hub — Amazon’s fourth in Georgia — will employ more than 500, a news release from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office said. “Amazon’s continued investment in our state speaks...
Georgia Ports leaders seek more federal funds for Savannah River dredging

Georgia Ports leaders seek more federal funds for Savannah River dredging

Georgia Ports Authority officials plan to hit Capitol Hill this week to press for more federal funding to deepen the Savannah River, and they’ll bring with them new figures to support their case that show record-breaking cargo traffic. The Savannah port saw container traffic increase by nearly a third in October, setting a new monthly record as the bustling harbor continues to see larger vessels...
Anthem tech hub to anchor new Midtown Atlanta tower near Georgia Tech

Anthem tech hub to anchor new Midtown Atlanta tower near Georgia Tech

The parent company of Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans to move the Atlanta technology hub it announced last year to a new Midtown office tower near Technology Square. Health insurance giant Anthem said in a news release Thursday the company will anchor a 21-story office tower by developer Portman Holdings at 4th and West Peachtree streets that should open by 2020. Anthem made waves last October...
Atlanta-based Equifax hit with massive data breach

Atlanta-based Equifax hit with massive data breach

Atlanta-based credit reporting and technology company Equifax said Thursday a “cyber security incident” may have exposed to criminals the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of 143 million U.S. consumers. The personal information said to have been accessed — also including, names, birth dates and addresses — is some of the most sensitive possible, and could...
What Georgia congressmen said about GOP tax ideas

What Georgia congressmen said about GOP tax ideas

Here’s what Georgia lawmakers on Capitol Hill had to say about the GOP’s new tax reform principles released on Wednesday: Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga.: “President Trump said job one is to grow the economy and the goals he outlined today are guaranteed to make that happen … We have to lower the corporate rate, eliminate the repatriation tax, and simplify the individual code. Implementing...
Trump talk of Korea trade re-boot spurs worry about Georgia business

Trump talk of Korea trade re-boot spurs worry about Georgia business

Talk of ripping up the current trade deal with South Korea and renegotiating a new pact has sparked fears that the change would hurt trade, chill investment and kill jobs in Georgia. Trade deals set the rules that can make it easier — or harder — to ship goods, to get through ports, to sell at a competitive price and to invest in a business venture. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement...
New disclosures show Atlanta companies that profit from tax breaks

New disclosures show Atlanta companies that profit from tax breaks

They are among metro Atlanta’s defining landmarks and marquee companies, from the upscale Avalon development in Alpharetta to Bank of America Plaza in Midtown, from Town Brookhaven to Coca-Cola. They’re also among the biggest beneficiaries of tax breaks doled out by local governments in 2016. Together, in the name of economic development, governments in Atlanta’s four core counties...
Reuters: Senator says ‘somebody needs to go to jail’ in Equifax case

Reuters: Senator says ‘somebody needs to go to jail’ in Equifax case

A Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee called for a criminal probe into Equifax executives for stock sales that followed a major data breach that was announced last week, according to a report Tuesday by Reuters. The revelation of the breach has roiled Washington, Wall Street and Atlanta, where Equifax is based. The company said hackers gained access to their systems, compromising the personal...
Savannah port to open late Tuesday or Wednesday after Irma clears

Savannah port to open late Tuesday or Wednesday after Irma clears

The Georgia Ports Authority is working to have its Savannah operations open by the end of the day Tuesday or early Wednesday following a pelting by Tropical Storm Irma. Griff Lynch, executive director of the authority, said the Savannah ports fared relatively well, though he said his agency is “still awaiting the final assessment on [the port in] Brunswick.” Water from the Savannah River...
Kempner: Georgia elected officials face a nuclear ultimatum

Kempner: Georgia elected officials face a nuclear ultimatum

Georgia “We’ve-Got-All-The” Power has just offered elected state regulators an all-or-nothing deal. As in, Georgia Power gets it all or its customers get nothing. The state’s largest utility, which is a government-regulated monopoly, recently launched its latest campaign to continue its long-troubled, billions-of-dollars-over-budget nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle, this...
Ga. firms scrambling to handle aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Ga. firms scrambling to handle aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Several Georgia businesses who have been pitching in to help east Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey now find themselves making preparations for a closer and possibly more powerful storm, Hurricane Irma. “We’ve been tracking it for a number of days now,” Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said of Irma, which some forecasters now project will hit south Florida Sunday morning. He...
Georgia’s large power users save hundreds of millions on Plant Vogtle charges

Georgia’s large power users save hundreds of millions on Plant Vogtle charges

Georgia Power’s largest commercial customers have gotten breaks worth hundreds of millions of dollars off surcharges to finance the troubled Plant Vogtle nuclear project since 2011, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis shows. The rest of its customers — homeowners, smaller businesses and government power users such as MARTA and cities — have paid nearly 90 percent of the $1.9...
Savannah and Brunswick ports prepare for Hurricane Irma

Savannah and Brunswick ports prepare for Hurricane Irma

Georgia’s ports in Savannah and Brunswick are preparing for their second hurricane in the past year as Hurricane Irma threatens to pound the coast. Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, said his agency is taking part in briefings with state and federal emergency officials. The current forecasted track shows that hurricane force winds could reach Brunswick by Monday...
Record-breaking cargo ship to call on Savannah port

Record-breaking cargo ship to call on Savannah port

Savannah is about to get another visit from another record-breaking cargo ship. On Friday afternoon, the Port of Savannah expects the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt to dock as part of a caravan of ever-larger container vessels that have called on the fast-growing port since the opening of an expanded Panama Canal. The Roosevelt, longer than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, set a new record as the largest...
Plant Vogtle builders to regulators: Keep going

Plant Vogtle builders to regulators: Keep going

Georgia Power told state regulators that it should keep building new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, despite delays expected to nearly double their ultimate price tag. The Atlanta utility, the main partner in the project, told regulators Thursday in a filing that its cost to finish the plant is about $4.5 billion, boosting its total to about $8.8 billion.  It has said the two new reactors,...
Will Mercedes-Benz Stadium help neighborhoods when past arenas haven’t?

Will Mercedes-Benz Stadium help neighborhoods when past arenas haven’t?

Atlanta Stadium didn’t. Neither did the Georgia Dome. When the city’s organizing committee built the Olympic Stadium, which became Turner Field after the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the complex also didn’t deliver much of an economic punch to the neighborhoods around it. But many residents in the struggling neighborhoods the shadow of Mercedes-Benz Stadium say they hope this...
Atlanta and Savannah investigators drill alleged oil fraud scheme

Atlanta and Savannah investigators drill alleged oil fraud scheme

Federal authorities in Atlanta and Savannah said Friday that a group of conspirators ran a Ponzi scheme that tapped $15 million from investors hungry for oil riches. Richard Paul Underwood, 65, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Colin P. Purcell, 56, of Simpsonville, Ky., were arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud in connection with the alleged scheme, according...
Kempner: Trump’s management style? Burn the textbook

Kempner: Trump’s management style? Burn the textbook

For anyone who has ever contemplated whether a business CEO could run the U.S. government better than a politician, we have Test Case A in the White House. Donald Trump is six months deep. So I wandered among the people most likely to have insights that could turn into books or at least heated classroom discussions on Trump’s leadership effectiveness: nearly 10,000 business professors, management...
Atlanta population: 10-county area adds nearly 80,000 since 2016

Atlanta population: 10-county area adds nearly 80,000 since 2016

Noticing a busier commute? Maybe a few more customers ahead of you to get that morning cup of coffee? It’s probably not your imagination. The Atlanta Regional Commission said Thursday the 10-county Atlanta area added more than 78,000 people from April 2016 to April this year amid a surge in new jobs. Some 4.48 million people now call the core counties of the Atlanta region their home, the...
Georgia PSC wants hard numbers on Plant Vogtle project

Georgia PSC wants hard numbers on Plant Vogtle project

State utility regulators want Georgia Power to answer several questions — including how much more it will cost — when the Atlanta utility turns in its recommendation later this month on what to do with the troubled Plant Vogtle nuclear project. Georgia Power faces an Aug. 31 deadline to file its recommendation for the Vogtle expansion in the wake of the late-March bankruptcy of key...
Total solar eclipse 2017 in Georgia: What’s the cost to business?

Total solar eclipse 2017 in Georgia: What’s the cost to business?

Turns out there is one way to look at an eclipse without harming your eyes: through the lens of economics. Sure, it’s not romantic and not inspiring and not exactly scientific either – even if they do call economics, “the dismal science.” And sure, The Great American Eclipse – surely is a spectacular moment that demands higher thinking. Yes, Monday’s event will...
Georgia jobless rate ticks down despite weak hiring

Georgia jobless rate ticks down despite weak hiring

The Georgia unemployment rate dipped in July, but so did hiring as the economy continued several months of stop-and-go. After a very strong June, the state’s economy lost 14,500 jobs last month. But the jobless rate, calculated from a different survey, edged down from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent, the state Labor Department said Thursday. The unemployment rate was 5.3 percent a year ago. The Georgia...
Kempner: Georgia Power’s nuclear tower teeters; EMCs ‘concerned’

Kempner: Georgia Power’s nuclear tower teeters; EMCs ‘concerned’

Our bumbling aspiration in Georgia to build more nuclear power is looking suspiciously like that wooden block game, Jenga. You know, the one where you take turns pulling out a block at a time, hoping not to topple the teetering tower. How many pieces can be pulled out before Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle metaphorically collapses and takes with it billions of dollars in consumer...
Will Georgia make a play for a Toyota-Mazda factory?

Will Georgia make a play for a Toyota-Mazda factory?

Toyota and Mazda on Friday announced a joint venture to build a new factory in the United States, a move sure to trigger a bidding war among job-hungry states. The companies did not name a location for the new facility, but they said the $1.6 billion complex would employ 4,000. A number of car companies — particularly ones from overseas — have picked Sun Belt states for new car plants...
We’re No. 2! Georgia scores high on best-for-biz list

We’re No. 2! Georgia scores high on best-for-biz list

Georgia just missed taking the No. 1 spot in an annual “top states for business” ranking by financial network CNBC. The state came in 2nd behind Washington, where technology and innovation, high quality of life and a strong workforce helped offset a higher cost of living and middling infrastructure. The CNBC ranking compiles scores in 10 weighted categories that affect business performance...
Georgia jobs and investment on line if Trump and Merkel head for trade conflict

Georgia jobs and investment on line if Trump and Merkel head for trade conflict

 If a presidential feud with Germany escalates into a trade skirmish, the economy of Georgia – especially that of metro Atlanta – will have a sizeable stake in the battle. President Trump’s visit to Europe last week ruffled some feathers, and prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pointedly say that the continent could no longer depend on the United States. ...
Kempner: Uber-fighting cabbies get schooled by Ga. Supreme Court

Kempner: Uber-fighting cabbies get schooled by Ga. Supreme Court

Atlanta taxi drivers, who’ve already had their lunches eaten by Uber and Lyft, just learned a painful lesson about government regulation. You can’t count on it to save your financial neck. On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court agreed with a lower court ruling, essentially killing a proposed class-action lawsuit brought by Atlanta cab drivers. The cabbies wanted the state to compensate...
Enormous $2.5 billion data campus planned for metro Atlanta

Enormous $2.5 billion data campus planned for metro Atlanta

A Nevada-based tech firm plans to build an enormous data center campus in metro Atlanta in what it describes as a “multibillion-dollar” investment in the Southeastern U.S. Las Vegas-based Switch said Thursday it will develop a more than 1 million-square-foot campus it calls “The Keep” that will be among the most advanced in the nation and the fourth in what it calls its &ldquo...
Thousands of Georgians dropped from food stamps

Thousands of Georgians dropped from food stamps

Thousands of Georgians are no longer collecting food stamps due to new work requirements, according to state figures released Tuesday.  The new work mandate applies to food stamp recipients in 21 counties - several in metro Atlanta - who are considered able-bodied and without children.  In January, the state informed 11,779 of these recipients that they had three months to find a job or...
Biggest cargo ship to call on the East Coast arrives in Savannah

Biggest cargo ship to call on the East Coast arrives in Savannah

SAVANNAH — Frank Haynes comes to River Street along this historic city’s waterfront every chance he can get to watch the cargo ships slowly float in and out of the harbor. “Near everyday if I’m not at work,” said Haynes, who sees the ships as omens of a stronger economy. Thursday’s showing didn’t disappoint as the Cosco Development, the biggest container ship...
Georgia’s ports see April shipping record

Georgia’s ports see April shipping record

The Georgia Ports Authority on Monday said business surged through its facilities last month, marking the best-ever April by tonnage for the agency’s terminals. The authority said it loaded and unloaded more than 333,000 TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalent container units, last month, up 11.7 percent from the same month a year ago. By tonnage, the ports’ total grew by 13 percent to 2.94 million...
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