If I worked for a chamber of commerce in this state, I would be inclined to highlight the recent report by IHS Global Insight Analysis that predicts Georgia will have the eighth-fastest job growth in the country during the next six years. You can see the data visually in this handy map produced by the Wall Street Journal. The factors in IHS’s forecast are, as an accompanying article puts it, the states’ “macroeconomic outlook, including demographic assumptions, historical and cyclical trends and other factors such as oil prices and tax policy.”
Then, I would be inclined to point to this analysis of the 50 states’ indebtedness, produced by the nonpartisan group State Budget Solutions. A closer inspection reveals Georgia is (barely) among the best one-quarter of states in terms of what we owe to creditors and retirees — current and future ones, accounting for the pension payments and other benefits, such as health care, they’re owed. At about $9,500 in state debt per man, woman and child, we’re closer to the top 5 than to the national average ($13,117). That suggests the tax burden is unlikely to grow worse relative to most other states.
The same SBS report cites a forecast for the American Legislative Exchange Council that sets Georgia’s economic outlook at 11th nationally.
Does all this leave room for improvement? Sure — and no room for complacency. But it’s good to find some reasons to be upbeat about Georgia’s future after the steady refrains of gloom we’ve heard for the past few years.
– By Kyle Wingfield