Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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TSPLOST Myth: “Georgia loses jobs to other states like North Carolina”

by PV

Last week there was a recorded debate on WABE regarding T-SPLOST (available for your viewing pleasure here). The three panelists were Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown (representing the Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC, an anti-TSPLOST group), Jeff Dickerson (representing the pro-TSPLOST side), and some lady from the ARC (which is also another pro-TSPLOST entity).

At approximately the 15-minute mark of the discussion, Jeff Dickerson opens his mouth to (essentially) claim that “Nobody wants to come here. Companies definitely look at transportation and we have lost out because of our transportation challenges.”

PV has heard this claim by just about everyone on the pro-TSPLOST side, from the Governor to the cadre of Chamber of Commerce promoters, et al., and North Carolina is often cited as the state more likely to be able to woo a company that Georgia can due to our “traffic.”

Trouble is, while this may appear to be an easy premise to claim, it falls apart when real, objective data is examined.

The cable TV business channel CNBC conducts an annual analysis on how states rank in terms of 10 measurements. Just last week they released their 2012 results. These are the 10 measurements:

– Cost of Doing Business
– Workforce
– Quality of Life
– Economy
– Transportation & Infrastructure
– Technology & Innovation
– Education
– Business Friendliness
– Access to Capital
– Cost of Living

According to this CNBC study, this is currently how Georgia compares to North Carolina in these 10 categories (interpret the rankings to mean the lower the number, the better the ranking):

– Cost of Doing Business (GA = 14, NC = 21)
– Workforce (GA = 1, NC = 3)
– Quality of Life (GA = 36, NC = 26)
– Economy (GA = 30, NC = 31)
– Transportation & Infrastructure (GA = 3, NC = 11)
– Technology & Innovation (GA = 17, NC = 9)
– Education (GA = 34, NC = 13)
– Business Friendliness (GA = 15, NC = 8)
– Access to Capital (GA = 20, NC = 18)
– Cost of Living (GA = 16, NC = 21)

You see, with an existing Transportation ranking of 3rd in the nation for Georgia compared to NC’s 11th, Georgia has a better transportation infrastructure right this moment in place than NC has…and someone wants to claim that Georgia “loses” business to NC because of our transportation issues? Really? Care to try Door #2?

No…one of the key reasons could be the “education quality” in Georgia compared to NC. All PV ever hears from legislators is that “Oh, that bottom-10-percentile in SAT scores that Georgia consistently has for the past 20 years is only due to the number of kids who take the SAT who never intended on going to college.” Well, maybe the reason why those kids decide to not go to college is because their SAT scores demonstrate that Georgia sucks at teaching in K-12 when compared to the rest of the universe, and the kids cannot get into college.

Another gleam of understanding from this CNBC study is that the climate in Georgia for being “business friendly” is lower than North Carolina’s. According to CNBC, “business friendliness” is measured by the degree of perceived regulation and litigation risk a business will face.

In the CNBC survey from 2011, NC ranked 11th, while Georgia ranked 16th. Both states improved for 2012, but NC significantly jumped ahead 3 spots, while Georgia inched-up one spot.

One more glaring difference between the two states is “Quality of Life.” Quality of Life is defined by CNBC to be a combination of “local attractions, the crime rate, health care, as well as air and water quality.” North Carolina is ranked 26th while Georgia is ranked 36th.

Here’s a wild and crazy idea: Rather than attempt to pound-in to people’s minds your “claims” of why you think a state like NC is able to “lure” more businesses its way than Georgia is, why doesn’t someone actually visit NC to see what they do differently in terms of “attracting business?”

OR, is it merely easier for people like Jeff Dickerson to just make-up stuff until someone calls them on it rather than research for a more accurate answer?

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Today's Deep Thought

Instead of having 'answers' on a math test, they should just call them 'impressions,' and if you got a different 'impression,' so what, can't we all be brothers?


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