Posted: 4:47 pm Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

CNBC names Georgia top state for biz – and gives Nathan Deal new fodder for campaign 

By Greg Bluestein

Tel Aviv, Israel – Gov. Nathan Deal has taken plenty of heat for frequently citing a little-known niche magazine’s ranking of Georgia as the nation’s top place to do business. Now he has another credential from a brand-name media outlet to back it up.

CNBC on Tuesday declared Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business. Deal, on the middle of a trade mission to Israel, went to the broadcaster’s Tel Aviv studios to acknowledge the award.

“It is the fulfillment of the goal that I had when I was first elected,” said Deal.

The governor has faced media scrutiny for turning the Site Selection ranking into a political pitch and come under fire from Democrat Jason Carter’s campaign that he’s using the ranking to mask other problems.

Deal said he sees the CNBC accolade as validation. And it’s a safe bet that we’ll be hearing about this plenty on the campaign trail.

From the CNBC website:

While the commute in metro Atlanta is as maddening as ever, roads and bridges are in the top tier nationally. In addition, the port of Savannah had a record year last year, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport just marked its 16th straight year as the world’s busiest. Also helping Georgia in the category are marked improvements in its drinking water, including a $90 million upgrade just completed in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta.

…Georgia’s worst categories are Quality of Life and Education, finishing 32nd in both.

Poor health hurts Georgia’s quality of life. Twenty-nine percent of Georgians are obese, and more than 19 percent lack health insurance. Poor air quality doesn’t help in the category, either. And in education, local school districts as well as colleges and universities are still struggling with budget cuts.

It’s hard to overstate how important economic recruiters who work for the state view these rankings.

We’ve documented how Site Selection’s rankings are often mentioned by Deal or his surrogates at political events or policy announcements. But they factor more prominently in the carefully crafted pitches that state planners use to woo potential businesses.

Deal’s trade mission to Israel offered a firsthand look at the process. About 100 Israeli executives showed up on a breezy afternoon — before the CNBC ranking was announced — to hear about Georgia’s businesses offerings, and meet with Deal for a poolside reception afterwards.

Along with statistics about the state’s workforce, details about the area’s logistics and case studies about companies like Coca-Cola who have made Georgia home, no fewer than four speakers emphasized the magazine’s No. 1 ranking to the crowd.

“As you’ve heard from several of our speakers, we are the No. 1 place in the nation to do business,” said Chris Carr, the state’s economic development guru. “And we want you to see how we can help you.”

That helps explain where the rankings fit in.

The audience included many executives who knew little or nothing about the Georgia market. We were asked by several entrepreneurs whether there were any Jewish people in Atlanta. (Attorney General Sam Olens, who opened the session in Hebrew, quickly answered that question.)

The recruiters who worked up the state’s elaborate pitch likely figured if there was one takeaway for Israeli investors, it would be that same line Deal has often repeated: “Georgia is the number one place in the nation to do business.”

Said Deal:

“Whether we want to admit it or not, advertising of your state is just as important as a manufacturer advertising a product. We’re advertising our state, and this kind of publicity is advantageous to achieve that goal.”

Update: Carter’s campaign responded with a press release saying that the ranking that matters most show Deal’s administration is “leaving too many people behind.”

It cited rankings showing Georgia with the 8th highest unemployment rate, a declining real per capita GDP and mediocre household income.

“Instead of crowing about arbitrary rankings, maybe Gov. Deal should focus a bit more on the rankings that actually mean something to Georgia families,” said Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas, citing some of the above statistics. “I bet we won’t see those facts in any of Gov. Deal’s campaign ads.”

127 comments
DS
DS

I'd be happy and proud to see Georgia receive accolades that make sense. I'm rooting for Georgia.

But this ranking puts Georgia at the top because of our infrastructure and highly educated workforce. Huh?

Okay, I can understand infrastructure somewhat on the basis of the Atlanta Airport and Port of Savannah. But other states do pretty well in terms of airports and sea ports too. And the rest of our infrastructure, including roads, bridges and drinking water supplies is in poor shape from government neglect.

And education? Our level of educational attainment is pretty low, with state rankings down in the 20s and 30s. There are other states with a larger, better educated workforce.

CNBC does mention that our economy is underperforming relative to other states. They just don't seem to care about that. Don't you think business leaders would care about that?

I think that this ranking is a bit flaky. I know that businesses put more thought and insight into selecting locations. I suspect that these rankings are more useful to politicians.

I'm pulling for Georgia to move forward in the real world, not these squirrelly rankings.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

And right on command, the libs come out to complain.  Too funny (sad?).  If Santa was a republican, Jim G and his minions would complain about their stocking being too full.


What a sad bunch of losers.  Oh well, off to work.  Meanwhile, the libs will sit in front  of their screen all day today and think of more ways to complain about what is truly an amazing and positive accomplishment for our state.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

So...did Deal buy this rating?

He has done such a thing before...I guess now that the primary is over that kind of thing doesn't matter anymore

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Did Deal have anything to do with buying the New York Stock Exchange or promoting Hartsfield-Jackson? This guy was too busy wheeling and dealing with Blue Cross ($25 million donation) and United ($35 million donation) to spend any time on private business promotion. I guess he stuffed his own pockets which - bottom line - is the measurement of a successful private businessman. I don't see that he did anything for anybody else. Is that the tone that gives the state a high rating - selfishness, greed, unethical dealing, shenanigans, broken contracts, fired whistle blowers, and 'guns everywhere'? Sounds more like the anarchy of Iraq and Syria to me. 

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

Just more metrics that demonstrate what's good for big business is good for big business, and not much else.

KenPo
KenPo

Great for big business. Ones with 50+ employees that can basically setup shop for free, thanks to Deal. For the majority of business, which are small, it's not in the top 10. Florida is about the best for these smaller companies.

honested
honested

Georgia is a wonderful place to locate a business.

We are staffed with starving unemployed and underemployed who often have no hope for healthcare so providing the most limited health benefits allowed under the PPACA draws them like flies.

Paid holidays? Surely you jest.

Unions? We've scared the bejeeszus out of them just so they are afraid to even sign a card. Most of them are to steeped in an outdated sense of confederate independence to take actions in their best interest.

Vacation? Sure, ofter them a week after two years full time service (hint, keep them to 39 hours).

And there are illegals everywhere to keep the wages depressed.

Yes, here in Georgia, we remember how to run a plantation and we have no qualms about maximizing profits off the backs of those who make it happen.

Georgia, where business always looks backwards!

(Paid for by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, ALEC and others).


skeeterN
skeeterN

Since things are so great, why can't Deal at least cut the dam grass along the interstate highways?  Quite embarrassing.  I don't think it has been cut since the crook took office.

EdUktr
EdUktr

The race even BEFORE this latest accolade by the business community ...

Deal 44%; Carter 38%

Kingston 43%; Nunn 37% 

Perdue 43%; Nunn 38%

—Latest poll results from 11Alive News (WXIA-TV)http://tinyurl.com/ouq4e3d

Unione
Unione

anyone not a fed.. ga is a great place to do business..


dems.. but.. but.. but..  where is my handout... whatever.. 

SouthGeorgiareader
SouthGeorgiareader

When Deal gives away the farm (tax incentives) to encourage businesses to come to Georgia and at the same time refuses to fund public education and other public services decently, refuses to expand Medicaid, refuses to acknowledge and help the plight of poor Georgians, and panders only to those who can help his reelection, it does make Georgia a good place to do business.  Where else would they go with the Deal GOP assurances of no increase in the state's minimum wage, low taxes, little interference from government, and workers eager for employment, even at low wages and almost no benefits. This is economic slavery, not prosperity.

abbysenia
abbysenia

Great place for business indeed.  You have everyone wanting to move here.  You have people with bachelor's , master's and doctoral degrees.  You have an anti-union and anti-labor culture.  You have an anti-tax culture.  So you have everything set up and designed to favor the wealthy  and the ability to pay skilled/educated talent poorly.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@dcdcdc 100 jobs by 2018 and a name change on the wall from Boston to Atlanta is a success?  Don't have many aspirations in life do you?  Too funny.

honested
honested

@dcdcdc 

Accomplishment for our state?

You mean success and appropriate revenue to meet the needs?

Are you in California?

honested
honested

@Baumer_1 

Is there an israeli connection to CNBC that just had to count the cash before they released the result?

LHardingDawg
LHardingDawg

Well it's apparent how Ralph feels about our successful governor and his selling of Georgia. As far as his other rant, the selfishness and greed part reminds me of the check getters that put nothing into the system. The unethical dealings and shenanigans are certainly the major democrats on the scene, the Clinton's. With the broken contracts and whistle blowers being the President and his treatment of our veterans and military.

As far as mentioning the Atlanta airport' it's a travesty to have a crooks name as part of its name. Maybe on a sewer treatment plant but not on the air jewel of our state.

td1234
td1234

@honested As a small business owner it is up to you to decide what you pay your employees and who much leave you grant them. 

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

@skeeterN Deal would rather cut taxes than have money to cut grass.  The untold story is that a number of businesses took Georgia off their list because, not only the interstates, but the state roads were also unkept.

honested
honested

@skeeterN 

Oh we outsourced that and use the DUI and Drug Court Prisoners.

Only we can't let them use heavy machinery.

A quandary, eh?

honested
honested

@Unione 

Who, besides multinationals, monopoly utilities and professional sports franchises are asking for (and getting) handouts?

td1234
td1234

@SouthGeorgiareader  The stats brought forward prove that education is improving dramatically. 


Expanding Medicaid would do nothing more then forcing the government to raise taxes or cut spending in education. Lose. lose proposition for the gains made. 


If the poor is so pitiful then they have the options and freedom to move to states that provide those services.  

td1234
td1234

@abbysenia If the jobs and money was not here then the people would not move here. 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@StraightNoChaser Yep, 2 perfect examples of folks blinded by their hatred and intolerance.  Fortunately, normal folks read about this rating and realize how positive it is for our state and our future.


But the JG minions will continue to be blinded.  Nothing that can be done about that.

OscarPucillo
OscarPucillo

@LHardingDawg


Provide evidence that Maynard Jackson was a crook racist. Or at least any less of a crook than "fire the ethics commission and pay them off" Deal. Or Sonny and David "profiteer of state contracts" Perdue.

honested
honested

@LHardingDawg 

Check getters?

Putting nothing into the system (because they have been able to be exempted from taxes)?

Did you mean Southern Company Shareholders?

Perdue Trucking?

Caterpillar?

Kia?

Who are these 'check getters'?

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

Federal law, humanity and customs of decency help guide an employer with concerns for the present and the future.

Plantation mentality helps guide those focused on the past.

Then there are those who abuse the 'independent contractor' designation. Abuse of those statutes is a crime and should be punished severely.

Kamchak
Kamchak

...and who[sic] much leave you grant them.

Perhaps you should really really refrain from commenting about education.

Just suggestin'.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

"if the poor is (sic) so pitiful"

Ahh you can just feel the love of Jesus Christ, can't you.....

Kamchak
Kamchak

...would do nothing more then[sic] forcing the government...

Perhaps you should really refrain from opining about education.

Just suggestin'.

Kamchak
Kamchak

 If the jobs and money was[sic] not here...

Perhaps you shouldn't opine about education.

Just suggestin'.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Or they will lose their job for not relocating

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@dcdcdc Question if President Obama came back with a promise of 100 jobs by 2018 what would the GOP have to say about him?  Seriously, how successful would he be in your eyes? Would that be considered hatred from the right?  What are normal folk? 

Derwin0
Derwin0

@honested @LHardingDawg Last I saw, those companies put money into the State's cofferes via income taxes on the employees paychecks.  Which in turn provide Sales tax revenues when those employees spend the paychecks..  How is that putting nothing into the system?

td1234
td1234

@honested @td1234 I bet the people that work for me are satisfied with their job and their pay and make way more than the people that work for you. 

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak Is dis watch ya call addin to da discusion? 

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak When you add something relevant to a conversation then I may actually pay attention to your grammar lessons. 


Deal? 

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak Maybe you should get a life and add to the discussion instead of attempting to criticise others grammar? 


Just sayin.  

honested
honested

@Derwin0 @honested @LHardingDawg 

The companies didn't put the money into the State's coffers, the EMPLOYEES did.

Why do we allow the COMPANIES to skate on taxes they could well afford should be paying?

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

I can guarantee that you would be wrong again (see 'losing money') if you made such an ill advised bet.

And my 'EMPLOYEES' are just that and well within the law.

honested
honested

@td1234 

When will the Revenue Commissioner and/or the Labor Commissioner clamp down on illegal misuse of 'contractors'....

Oh, I forgot, they are bought and paid for by the CofC too!

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

That is what conservatives don't get about freedom. Being threatened like that is basically bondage and the choice is not made freely.

td1234
td1234

@honested @td1234 The IRS said the people that work for me are doing so within the law. 

td1234
td1234

@Baumer_1 Choice is now bondage? If you want to continue working at a job then you move with the company, if you do not then find another job. 

honested
honested

@td1234 

Well, apparently, additional enforcement funds for the IRS are necessary.

Unfortunately, the national disgrace cowards currently in charge of the House, are unlikely to provide that funding.

It is sad that many in America view 'business' as a codified method for organized theft.

td1234
td1234

@honested @td1234 I know you are not talking about me. My businesses provide a service that my customers are willing to pay. No theft just a straight up transaction of supply and demand theory in practice. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

If you employ 'contractors' you have no control over conditions, work hours or finished product.

I would surmise your 'customers are more concerned about 'cheap' and some warped ideology than supply and demand.

td1234
td1234

@honested @td1234 Really, A person contracting someone to do a job can not set quantity and quality of work? 


So if I ask company A to produce a product or provide me a service then in your world I can not expect a product to be produced in a quality manner in a time certain? I am not allowed to inspect the product at the end of the process prior to me paying for the product? I can not tell a person providing a service how I want the service provided for the sum I am willing to pay? 


Am I allowed to set goals and timetables with tiers of money being paid if they are met? 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

If you hire EMPLOYEES and follow the law in treatment of EMPLOYEES you can do all those things.

But you have to pay them as EMPLOYEES and withhold taxes, provide appropriate healthcare insurance, workmen's compensation, carry appropriate liability insurance, exist within appropriate zoning requirements, etc. You know, the conditions that are set aside for Legitimate Business to follow in exchange for special tax treatment.

But you are the one constantly bragging about beating the system.

What does that make you?

But hey, this is Georgia. We helped invent the concept of 'sweat shop'!