Cobb Chamber of Commerce

Advocacy

State Legislative Agenda

The Cobb Chamber’s 2021 State Legislative Agenda represents our commitment to advance a vibrant and thriving economy by enhancing the business climate and quality of life for Cobb County, the region and state.
Our agenda addresses the key concerns from our 2,500-member organizations representing more than 16,000 business leaders.

While we are still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is absolutely vital we continue to move our state forward towards full recovery.  Your support on these issues is critical to our success. Thank you for your continued service to the great state of Georgia.


Economic & Community Development

Economic Development and the recruitment/retention of quality jobs is a major focus of the Cobb Chamber. 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:

  • 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 the current scope and stability of the Georgia Entertainment Investment Act.
  • Supports a tax credit that would grow the video game production industry in Georgia. A tax credit of this nature would assist in the relocation of high demand technology companies to Georgia and help us retain our talented young workforce being trained by our institutions of higher learning.
  • 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 provide for students and families to capitalize on summer opportunities. Travel and Tourism is the second largest industry in our state and the 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. Students will have greater job and career training opportunities available to them, which is critical to developing our future workforce.
  • Support for our Tourism and Hospitality industry which has suffered tremendous losses during this pandemic and will be one of the last industries to regain footing
  • 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 sufficient funding for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (MNGWPD) to ensure adequate sources of clean water for metro Atlanta’s future growth and quality of life.

 

Transportation, Mobility & Infrastructure Investment

Transportation is a defining issue for Cobb and the Atlanta region.  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:

  • We support the state’s Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP), the 10 year, $10B effort to build Managed Lanes along I-75/I-285/400/I-85 as one of the ways to address the region’s mobility needs, and encourage incorporation of transit elements such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as part of these projects. We strongly encourage the state to ensure proper access to these Managed Lanes connecting the Cumberland business district.
  • We support the following Cobb County specific projects which will improve mobility for our county and region.
    • South Barrett Reliever, Phase 3
    • George Busbee Parkway
    • I-575 South, early exit ramp at Chastain Road
    • Cobb Parkway Ped Bridge
    • Cumberland Multi-Modal Corridor Project
    • I-285 at South Cobb Drive Interchange
    • Dallas Highway at Mars Hill Improvements
    • Chattahoochee River Trail
    • Marietta Transfer Center
    • Cumberland Transfer Center
    • Cobb Pkwy at McCollum Pkwy Realignment /Airport Runway Safety Area
  • 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 systems that serve citizens and businesses.
  • Supports continued advancement and innovation from state leaders to ensure comprehensive transportation and mobility 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.
  • Supports additional flexibility in how Georgia’s local governments fund their transportation infrastructure, including transit operations and expansions.
  • Supports continued transit service coordination, integrated and seamless interconnections, and increased resources to address the needs of metro Atlanta transit riders, including appropriate representation of key stakeholders.
  • Oppose any efforts to reduce the benefits of the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 or divert proceeds to other purposes.
  • Supports 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.
  • Supports 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.
  • Supports the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics and their efforts to expand Georgia’s freight and logistics network and increase economic opportunity for our state.
  • 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, supporting high demand workforce needs.



K-12, Higher Education & Workforce Development

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 families 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 47.3 percent of adults hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Our colleges and universities have more than 48,000 students and 8,000 graduates per year.

 The Cobb Chamber:

  • Supports continued funding and resources for College and Career Academies.
  • Supports continued legislative funding towards promoting career readiness initiatives at the K-12 level. Promoting the apprenticeship and work based learning opportunities available to students looking to explore careers is a critical component of the Cobb Workforce Partnership.  
  • Supports efforts to reduce unfunded mandates to local school districts, which includes greater flexibility to more effectively calculate student achievement.
  • Supports full funding of longstanding enrollment-driven formulas for K-12 & higher education.
  • Supports including local exemptions when calculating the State of Georgia local five mill share.
  • Supports a graduation rate formula which aligns the minimum enrollment period with existing CCRPI Full Academic Year (FAY) calculations.
  • Supports continued funding of Advanced Placement (AP) exam fee for public school students: One funded AP exam for students in need and one funded AP STEM exam for students not eligible to receive free or reduced price lunch. Cobb County has received accolades over the past several years for its AP program. In May 2020, about 7,500 Cobb County public school students took at least one AP exam, and 74% scored a 3 or higher, giving them the opportunity to earn college credit for their hard work.
  • Supports enhanced dual enrollment opportunities though fine tuning of funding mechanisms.
  • Supports continued full funding for workforce certificates, diplomas, and degrees at Chattahoochee Technical College (CTC)
  • Supports Kennesaw State University’s small cap project ($5 million) for the renovation of the Crawford Lab on the Marietta Campus.
  • Support funding request of $32.6 million in FY21 for Chattahoochee Technical College’s new Aviation Academy in Paulding County for Aviation Maintenance Technicians (Airframe and Power Plant)
  • Supports Life University’s request for state 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 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 a key factor in corporate expansions and relocations and that is why the Cobb Chamber created Cobb Workforce Partnership, bringing K-12 and higher education partners together with key business leaders to identify and support careers in high-demand sectors).


Health Care

Healthcare is a growth industry in the U.S. and Cobb with a tremendous set of resources with providers, bioscience research and development, and pharmaceutical developments.  Our SelectCobb Economic Development strategy has identified both bioscience and healthcare services as growth opportunities for Cobb. We must foster our existing industry in this sector as we seek to grow future opportunities.

The Cobb Chamber:

  • Support Cobb’s hospitals, practitioners, nursing homes and emergency services in their pandemic response and recovery efforts to overcome the harmful economic impact of COVID-19, which will remain ongoing for an extended duration. Hospitals and other healthcare providers have experienced historic loses in revenue while incurring new expenses related to the public health crisis including increased supplies of PPE, screening and COVID testing equipment, suspension of elective surgeries, satisfying new reporting requirements and mandates, staffing shortages, and higher rates of uninsured patients requiring complex treatment. We need Georgia’s leaders to continue advocating for enhanced relief from the CARES Act, supplemental state funding, streamline state agency’s reporting requirements, infrastructure investments to improve telemedicine, and ensure resources are available to meet testing and tracing demands. Failure to offer continued support for these safety net providers will threaten their financial health and could lead to additional furloughs, possible job cuts and a drain on our overall economy.
  • 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.
  • Supports mitigating the regulatory and financial burden resulting from the implementation of federal 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.

 

Continued Support for Dobbins Air Reserve Base

Dobbins Air Reserve Base serves as a major component of the Cobb County community, the state of Georgia, and the United States. Dobbins is home to the 94th Airlift Wing, the 22nd Air Force Headquarters, the Georgia National Guard Headquarters, Navy Operational Support Center Atlanta, units of the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Civil Air Patrol, and other civilian partners, including Lockheed Martin and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Dobbins has more than 5,000 assigned military members, including all branches of the military. Dobbins is also the servicing installation for more than 400,000 eligible beneficiaries in the greater Atlanta region, including retirees from all services.

The primary missions of the 94th Airlift Wing are to provide Rapid Global Mobility through cargo and personnel airlift and tactical airdrop missions via their C-130H aircraft and Agile Combat Support through Airmen trained in Security Forces, Civil Engineering, Force Support, Aerial Port, Communications, Logistics, and other specialties.

Our main objectives in 2021 for Dobbins Air Reserve Base are:

  • Missions – We want to ensure that the missions and resources both on and connected with Dobbins ARB are valued and secured to remain at Dobbins. We would also like to explore the opportunity to grow missions, Federal and State resources at Dobbins ARB.
  • Encourages the Governor, state leaders and the Georgia Joint Defense Commission, continue to provide the necessary support for Georgia bases and communities. Take the necessary steps to prepare for any potential threats to ALL of our state’s bases and place Georgia in a position to be a net gainer of missions.
  • Support studying the 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.

The Cobb Chamber and the metro region support Dobbins as an integral part of our national security, readiness, and responsiveness. We will work to tell the Dobbins’ story to our community, our legislators, and our nation, to ensure the future of Dobbins Air Reserve Base and all who work and serve there.