Cobb Chamber of Commerce


State Legislative Agenda

The Cobb Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Agenda represents our commitment to advance a vibrant economy by enhancing the business climate and quality of life for Cobb County, our region and state.

Our agenda addresses the key concerns from our 2,500 member organizations representing more than 16,000 business leaders as well as the feedback we received from more than 1,029 business and community leaders during the Chamber’s strategic planning process for 2018-2022.

The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, working with its strategic partners, offered their specific expertise and perspectives, in order to thoroughly evaluate these issues and their potential impact on businesses and the community.

The Cobb Chamber strongly believes the positions taken here will provide us with the tools needed to create quality jobs and improve the quality of life and standard of living for citizens in Cobb County and the metro Atlanta region.

Your support on these issues is critical to our success.

Economic Development

Economic Development and the recruitment/retention of jobs is the Cobb Chamber’s primary focus that has led to more than 22,000 new jobs and more than $2 billion in private new investment since starting the Cobb Competitive EDGE process including recruiting major new companies like Aaron’s, Atlanta United FC, Greenway Health Technology, Vonage, the Atlanta Braves, Infosys, Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, Synovus, Novelis Global R&D Center, Comcast’s Innovation Center, and Alorica. It also includes the expansion of major companies such as The Home Depot, RaceTrac, Genuine Parts, GLOCK, Novelis, Bubba Brands, Manhattan Associates, Assurant, and Atlanta Bread Company to name a few.

In order to attract, recruit and retain jobs, we also focus on workforce development, existing industry expansion, entrepreneurial support and cultivating a business friendly environment for businesses and their employees.

We encourage state-level efforts to ensure our county; region and state are in the most competitive position possible for future growth through sound, inclusive, pro-business, job-creating legislation.

The Cobb Chamber:

  • Supports public policy which promotes building and expanding Georgia’s workforce, to meet the growing demands of companies already located or seeking to relocate to our State and efforts by the state to address obstacles and funding to make this happen. (Note: Workforce Development is quickly becoming the #1 factor in corporate expansions and relocations.  As such, the Cobb Chamber launched the Cobb Workforce Partnership project that is bringing together K-12 public school, Life University, Georgia Highlands, Chattahoochee Technical College (CTC) and Kennesaw State University (KSU) with key businesses in Cobb to defined the skill needs of business for today and ensure the Cobb education systems are properly focused to meet these challenges.)
  • Opposes policies or legislative measures that would negatively impact our business climate, are or can be perceived as discriminatory in nature and could harm our ability to create, attract, retain and expand jobs in Georgia.
  • Supports proactive efforts to increase Georgia’s competitiveness for jobs and economic investment through enhanced, targeted tax incentives from the state for new and existing business in order to keep pace with our neighboring states. Some specific examples include:
    • Expansion of the Georgia Research and Development Tax Credit by adding a simplified credit that is comparable to the federal Alternative Simplified Research Credit. Currently Georgia businesses with significant research spending do not receive the credit due to high Georgia sales.  The simplified credit will allow a Georgia Research and Development Tax Credit based on an increase in research spending. 
    • A sales tax exemption on equipment used in research and development. (Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina have such exemptions.) 
  • Supports a uniform state school start date that would begin no sooner than the fourth Monday in August. Travel and Tourism is the second largest industry in our state and number one industry in Cobb County. Providing a uniform start date for our schools will allow communities like Cobb and our entire state to maximize the economic benefit of a longer summer season. An added benefit will be greater job and career training opportunities for youth and students.
  • Supports reform of Georgia’s Tier-system incentive program to eliminate the disadvantage for Tier 4 counties like Cobb.
  • Supports common-sense public policies that remove regulatory barriers to growth for our targeted industries that produce quality jobs.
  • Supports the continued management of our region’s water resources to meet the current and future needs of metro Atlanta’s growing population and businesses.
  • Supports the continued review and update of regulations and laws, as well as funding to ensure adequate sources of clean water for metro Atlanta’s future growth and quality of life.
  • Will continue to work with our elected leaders at the state level to educate them on the benefits of and partner with them on the full implementation of Cobb’s Competitive EDGE.


Dobbins, ARB/BRAC Readiness/Military Support

We believe Dobbins Air Reserve Base is a key asset to our community, region, the state of Georgia, and our country. Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta is a multi-service installation location. The base is home to the 94th Airlift Wing, 22nd Air Force Headquarters, Georgia National Guard Headquarters, Navy Operational Support Center Atlanta, units of the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve and Civil Air Patrol. The installation has more than 5,000 assigned military members across all services. The 94th Airlift Wing is the installation host and operational flying unit with eight C-130H3 Hercules aircraft, and over 2,000 Air Force Reserve and civilian personnel. Dobbins is also the servicing installation for more than 400K eligible beneficiaries in the greater Atlanta region, including retirees from all services.

With its 10,000-foot runway and immediate access to major medical facilities, Dobbins is uniquely positioned in the Southeastern U.S. to provide a platform for comprehensive disaster response operations. During recent hurricane relief efforts for Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Dobbins was designated an Installation Support Base for FEMA and a Federal Coordinating Center for the National Disaster Medical System. Dobbins served as an air logistics hub, preparing and transporting cargo to and from affected areas, and a reception location for medical patients, evacuees and responders moving in and out of the Caribbean. In total, Dobbins supported 134 flights of both military and civilian aircraft and received over 200 patients for assessment and transport to Atlanta medical facilities.

The primary missions of the 94th Airlift Wing are to provide Rapid Global Mobility through cargo and personnel airlift and tactical airdrop missions via eight assigned C-130H3 aircraft; and Agile Combat Support through Airmen trained in security forces, civil engineering, force support, aerial port, logistics, communications and other specialties.  Dobbins also provides: Force Support Silver Flag Training Site (Force Support schoolhouse); Expeditionary Combat Support Training and Certification Center (Civil Engineer schoolhouse); Transportation Proficiency Center (Aerial Port schoolhouse); Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) Small Arms Range; Southeastern Regional C-130 Simulator.

The economic impact of the Air Force presence at Dobbins is $171.9M, according to a 2016 Economic Impact Study.  The economic impact of Dobbins, along with the military and civilian employees at the base, plus the missions of Dobbins, makes Dobbins Air Reserve Base indispensable to our community, the state, and the nation. 

The Cobb Chamber and the entire metro region support retaining Dobbins ARB through any potential or future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) procedure. We look forward to sharing our story of excellence and seek opportunities to expand the missions at Dobbins.

The Cobb Chamber and the entire metro region support retaining Dobbins ARB through any potential or future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) procedure. We look forward to sharing our story of excellence and seek opportunities to expand the missions at Dobbins.

The Cobb Chamber:

  • Encourages the Governor and all state leaders provide the necessary support for Georgia bases and communities to prepare for an upcoming Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, and place Georgia in a position to be a net gainer of missions.
  • Support the full exemption of Military retirement income from state income tax. This would bring Georgia Tax Policy with regard to military retirement income in line with several of our border states and make Georgia a more competitive place for military retirees to locate.

Transportation & Infrastructure Investment

Transportation is a defining issue for Cobb and the Atlanta region. Our recent strategic planning input process of 1,029 business leaders showed that transportation mobility and traffic congestion are Cobb’s top challenge. We believe that our future success as a county, region and state depend on our current and future transportation challenges being met and overcome. 

The Cobb Chamber:

  • Supports the State of Georgia playing a strategic role in transit investment as well as transit expansion in order to provide a world class, regionally connected system that serves citizens and businesses. We applaud state and local leaders for the work that is already being done to study this issue and we look forward to a positive outcome of their efforts.
  • Supports the State of Georgia playing a strategic role in transit investment as the Atlanta region continues on a path towards critical transit expansion. We applaud state and local leaders for the work that is already being done to study this issue and we look forward to a positive outcome of their efforts.
  • Supports continued advancement and innovation from state leaders to ensure comprehensive transportation and infrastructure state funding increases year over year. It is critical that dollars remain available for large-scale projects and matching funds for local infrastructure investment, including transit investment.
  • Support the current mission of Community Improvement Districts and oppose legislative efforts that would seek to minimize or impede their impact and effectiveness, for the areas they serve.
  • Support a premium transit solution connecting Cobb to the region’s transit system, to ensure we meet our increasing capacity challenges as our county continues to densify, grow and mature.
  • Continuing support for equipment and facility infrastructure at the State’s technical colleges along major transportation corridors such as Chattahoochee Technical College, for programs such as Commercial Truck Driving, Diesel Equipment Technology, Logistics and Supply Chain Management and others in support of the Governor’s High Demand Logistics & Transportation Sector.

K-12 & Higher Education

In order to ensure a qualified workforce for our region, Georgia must continue to make the necessary investments in our educational infrastructure. A properly funded and successful education system that offers everything from pre-K to doctorates—currently enjoyed in Cobb—--is a key economic driver for our long-term future for existing business success, business expansion and new business success. Our K-12 systems are highly regarded by parents and national experts, and indeed, both Cobb County and Marietta City Schools consistently have higher graduation rates and scores on key subject areas than most of our peers across the state. At the postsecondary level, Cobb is one of the most highly educated counties in the U.S. where 45.1 percent of adults hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Our colleges and universities are home to more than 42,000 students and 8,000 graduates each year.

The Cobb Chamber:

  • Supports full funding of longstanding enrollment-driven formulas for K-12 as well as higher education.
  • Supports including local exemptions when calculating the State of Georgia local five mill share.
  • Supports continued funding and resources for College and Career Academies.
  • Support continued legislative focus and funding at K-12 levels promoting early career identification of careers (e.g. funded UScience Tool guided by Senator Lindsey Tippins) so that students will begin to pursue career interest much earlier in the journey through the K-12 system. Development opportunities for students to experience these careers (e.g. apprenticeships) are a critical component in the workforce development supply chain focus being guided by the Cobb Workforce Partnership project.
  • Supports a uniform state school start date that would begin no sooner than the fourth Monday in August.
  • Supports efforts to reduce unfunded mandates to local school districts, which includes greater flexibility to more effectively calculate student achievement.
  • Supports a graduation rate formula which aligns the minimum enrollment period with existing CCRPI Full Academic Year (FAY) calculations.
  • Supports Life University’s request for a State of Georgia funding partnership for their Chillon Project which, through their Center for Compassion, Integrity, and Secular Ethics, will educate incarcerated students. One of only a few prison higher education programs in the Southeastern United States, this is the only program nationally to also provide scholarships to correctional officers.
  • Supports continued funding for workforce certificates, diplomas, and degrees at Chattahoochee Technical College (CTC)
  • Supports $23,525,800 funding request for Health Sciences building on CTC Marietta campus.
  • Supports continued funding for Dual Enrollment, with 534 current enrollees from Cobb County.
  • Supports the expansion of HOPE Career Grant.
  • Support of $39.5 million in General Obligation Bonds as recommended by the Board of Regents for construction of the Academic Learning Center (ALC) on the Kennesaw Campus of KSU. The ALC is a 147,000 GSF building that will augment instructional spaces at KSU with more than two dozen classrooms, four seminar rooms, a multipurpose lecture hall, and computer and other specialized labs.

Health Care

Healthcare is a growth industry in the United States as well as in Cobb County. We have a tremendous set of resources, both from the provider side to the research and development aspects of bioscience and pharmaceutical developments. Our Cobb’s Competitive EDGE strategy has identified both bioscience and healthcare services as two of our growth opportunities for Cobb. We must do everything we can to foster our existing industry in this sector as we seek to grow future opportunities.

The Cobb Chamber:

  • Supports continuation of tax exemption for not-for-profit community hospitals.
  • Supports improved reimbursement levels for all Medicaid providers, including increased payments to primary care physicians for seeing the patients most in need.
  • Supports hospitals in the current Certificate of Need process.
  • Supports reasonable market-based solutions and greater competition and more choices for small business at the state level to help keep costs of employer-provided insurance in check.
  • Supports expanding coverage options for employers and employees through a private, free-market approach to small business exchanges.
  • Mitigate the regulatory and financial burden resulting from the implementation of health care reform.
  • Supports physician payment methodologies that are adequate and sustainable for out-of-network emergency care that result in protections for patients. Ensuring that the controversial process of physician certification maintenance are not a condition of medical licensure.