Cobb Chamber of Commerce

Advocacy

Federal Legislative Agenda

The Cobb Chamber’s 2020 Federal 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.

Your support on these issues is critical to our success. Thank you for your continued service to our nation.

Rebuilding Our Economy

DAs we are still in the grips of this pandemic and our businesses are still rebuilding, we realize there is much more that needs to be done. We are writing to express our support for congressional efforts to develop Phase 4 and possibly 5 COVID-19 relief legislation. As you deliberate the next phase of funding providing support for communities across our nation, we ask that you to consider the following recommendations:

  • Provide liability protection for business against frivolous lawsuits
  • Increase funding to support small and midsize employers
  • Change SBA policies, related to 7a loans, allowing local small business grants funding from CARES Act funds to be used in further support of their business, rather than be required to use those funds to pay back EIDL loans
  • Change IRS rules in order to make expenses deductible that are used for PPP loan forgiveness
  • Support for childcare, K-12 schools and continued support for federal legislation that funds higher education
  • Provide continued support for unemployment and job training programs which incentivize employment and better prepare our citizens for the workforce challenges ahead
  • Cobb health organizations and agencies (e.g. public health, hospital systems and other emergency services) are the “tip of the spear” during the pandemic and have experienced losses totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. While we remain appreciative of federal relief aid, more must be done through federal funding to recoup for the uncompensated care these economic engines provide and increase funding for COVID-19 testing, treatment, vaccine and tracing for state and local governments. 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.
  • Provide opportunity for not-for-profit 501c6 organizations to access PPP funding
  • 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


Transportation

We believe that transportation investments are a core function of the federal government and critical to the long- term health of our county, region and state. It is also a partnership, and our local and state governments are making significant investments in order to provide matching funds to move critical projects forward. Our transportation challenges are real, and we support a consensus building and fiscally responsible infrastructure bill to provide the critical funding of ports, roads, bridges, rail, and information technology our communities need.

  • 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 encourage federal support where needed to assist with P3 opportunities and innovative financing.
  • We support the complete street/smart corridor for George Busbee Parkway and I-575 early exit ramp at Chastain Road, as these projects, combined with the work already in process on the South Barrett Reliever, will bring much needed traffic and mobility relief to the growing Town Center area.
  • We support the following Cobb County projects which will improve mobility for our county and region.
    • 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
  • We urge Congress to continue appropriating the federal funds for the Savannah Harbor Expansion project (SHEP), in order that deepening of the Savannah Port can be completed without unnecessary delays and lost benefits.


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 2020 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 at Dobbins ARB.
  • Budget – It is necessary to have a Federal Budget that will cover the cost of our military and allow for modernization and training. We appreciate the efforts made by our congressional leaders in recent years to place a serious focus on a fully funded defense budget. The Air Force Reserve, Dobbins Air Reserve Base and the 94th Airlift Wing need a stable and predictable budget to maintain readiness, modernization, and training. Continued congressional support and a timely allocation of funds are key requirements to sustain robust mission capabilities.
  • Medical Insurance – TRICARE Reserve Select Insurance should be available for Air Force Reservists who are also federal civilian employees. Currently, most of the full-time Airmen at Dobbins fall into this category yet are not eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select Insurance, the health insurance option offered to Reservists. The Air Force Reserve and the 94th Airlift Wing are appreciative of the FY20 HASC NDAA language allowing for members of the Reserve who are also eligible for FEHB to be eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select, effective January 1, 2030. Receiving this allowance sooner than 2030 would be ideal. It is important that we view TRS as a readiness concern rather than a benefit.

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.