Last week, the Chamber hosted its Eggs & Issues Legislative Breakfast in the ballroom at the DeSoto Hotel. Featured speakers included the Chamber’s Board chair Jay Neely and Governmental Affairs Committee chair Bart Gobeil, State Representatives Carl Gilliard, Jesse Petrea, Bill Hitchens and Ron Stephens, and State Senator Ben Watson.
At the breakfast, the Chamber announced its legislative priorities for the upcoming year. The 2019 legislative agenda is laid out below the event photos; click here for a downloadable PDF version.
2019 State Legislative & Policy Agenda
As the voice of business for the Savannah and Chatham County area, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to keeping our region competitive and thriving. We advocate for legislation and policies which improve the business climate, help develop and retain an educated workforce and support the pillars of our regional economy. we also recognize that to best serve our coastal region, we must work to ensure that Georgia continues to grow, prosper and maintain our reputation as the number one state for business.
- Defend against legislative measure that would negatively impact Savannah’s business climate, appear discriminatory in nature, or would harm the ability to create, attract, retain and expand jobs and investments.
- Support efforts to obtain the funding necessary to begin the building phase of the Savannah Convention Center expansion project.
- Support enhancement of Georgia’s historic preservation incentives to encourage investment in the rehabilitation of historic landmarks.
- Support Georgia Southern University’s Board of Regents’ request for $5.2 million in equipment funding for the new Center for Engineering and Research Building on the Statesboro campus.
- Support Georgia Southern University’s Board of Regents’ request for %5 million to convert existing under-utilized space into Student Success and Mentoring Centers for students on the Armstrong and Statesboro campuses.
- Support the expansion of hospitality and culinary training at Savannah Technical College to address the critical shortage of skilled workers for the hospitality industry.
- Support proactive military legislation that seeks to protect and expand Georgia’s military installations and grow this important statewide economic development target industry.
- Support efforts to streamline the deployment of technology to make wireless broadband more easily accessible.
Key Pro-Business Policies & Positions
The Chamber thanks the State of Georgia for its continued investments in maintaining, improving and expanding our state’s transportation infrastructure which allows commerce in the Savannah region to continue to flow. We encourage GADOT to prioritize enhancements of the I-95 interchange that serves the Savannah Hilton Head Airport, improvements to the US-80 Tybee Causeway, as well as other major infrastructure investments needed that will allow the Georgia Ports Authority to continue to grow.
- Advocate for legislation, initiatives and funding to support registered and certified programs such as Move On When Ready, Georgia College & Career Academies and other efforts that prepare students for future careers while providing a skilled workforce for the region’s current and future employers.
- Support legislation that would allow state funds to be used to establish or enhance local pre-K programs.
- Support initiatives to attract and retain military veterans and retirees through tax and education incentives that encourage veterans to reside in Georgia and seek employment from Georgia companies.
- Support initiatives to limit the unanticipated large-percentage swings in annual commercial property tax increases and decreases.
- Support funding and state policies that will have a positive impact on the healthcare for the citizens in Georgia. Without top quality healthcare, it will be difficult to attract economic development opportunities to the state. We will support policies that positively impact medical education, access to healthcare throughout the State of Georgia and adequate funding of Medicaid and the State Health Benefit Plan.
- Support the UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography’s efforts to obtain $450,000 for the design and engineering phase of the mid-life refit for the research vessel Savannah.