From the Associated Press:
Savannah, Ga. — Democrat Roy Barnes said Friday he wants $300 million in new tax breaks for businesses that create jobs in Georgia and vowed he would deny state contracts to firms that send jobs overseas if he’s elected governor.
“It’s time we get serious that it’s our people that need jobs,” Barnes told an economic development conference in Savannah.
Nathan Deal, Barnes’ Republican rival in the race, said he’s largely waiting on a tax commission formed by the Legislature to study and suggest revisions to the state’s tax code. Its recommendations are due in January after the new governor takes office.
But Deal told the same group he’s pitched an idea to defer taxes owed by small businesses in their startup years when they’re most vulnerable to failure.
“They fail generally during the first three to five years, and taxes just become a burden on them,” Deal said. “If they fail, they don’t create any jobs and they don’t pay any taxes.”
The tax breaks Barnes is proposing would come as a two-year suspension of state capital gains taxes as well as payroll taxes on new jobs.
Barnes said he would require the capital gains savings to be spent on new investment such as business startups and expansion or land acquisitions in Georgia. The idea, he said, is to give investors a limited window to inject tax-free capital into the state’s struggling economy.
Barnes estimated the tax breaks would cost the state $300 million. He said he’d work to make up the lost revenue, in part, by rolling back sales tax exemptions and other tax breaks that don’t lead to job creation.
Barnes also pledged to give Georgia employers preference in winning state business — particularly by refusing to award contracts to companies that send jobs to other countries.
“You outsource jobs away from the United States, then you shouldn’t be eligible to bid on state contracts,” Barnes said. “They shouldn’t be sending jobs overseas. I don’t care how large they are.”
Deal, who addressed the Georgia Economic Developers Association conference after Barnes, said a blanket refusal by the state to do business with outsourcing companies might run afoul of some trade agreements Georgia has with other countries.
However, Deal said he agrees with the idea in principle.
“To the point that you can say we’re going to nationalize our job base, I certainly think that’s an appropriate thing to do” he said.