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Chamber Releases 2014 Legislative Agenda

The Legislative Agenda outlines the plan for advocacy that the Douglas County Chamber will support in the upcoming year.

The Douglas County Chamber has released its 2014 Legislative Agenda. The Douglas County Chamber’s mission is to promote, support, and attract businesses for the advancement of our community. The 2014 Legislative Agenda focuses on three areas; economic development, local control, and education. All of these areas coincide with the Chamber’s three year strategic plan which all tie into the Chamber’s vision - to be the undisputed voice of business and a respected leader in Douglasville and Douglas County’s drive to be a premier community.

The Agenda is created based on the recommendations by the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, and is approved by the Chamber Board of Directors.

Economic Development

The Douglas County Chamber supports the adoption of tax policies and financial incentives, as well as the elimination of burdensome regulations in order to foster economic growth in Douglasville, Douglas County and all Georgia businesses. The Chamber supports new initiatives, economic development tools and private sector investments that will enhance our competitiveness, encourage innovation, and create new jobs for our community and Georgia as a whole. The Douglas County Chamber envisions a community economic development solution involving private public partnerships and a common vision for the future that will also retain and expand business in our community.

Another hot topic that is supported by the Chamber is an increased hotel/motel tax rate that would encourage economic development for the County and would allow a Museum Curator/History and Tourism Director to be hired and work out of the County's History Museum and Welcome Center. The funds from the increased tax rate would also be used to support the annual Hydrangea Festival as an ever-increasing economic engine for the County. The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution on Jan. 22, 2013 in support of an upward change in the hotel/motel tax in Douglas County to 8 percent. The recent discussions of the Foxhall Project are also important to this issue. If the County were to move forward with the Foxhall Project, an increased hotel/motel tax rate of 8 percent would be beneficial in bringing in additional revenue to the County.

Solutions

The Douglas County Chamber of Commerce does not favor one member over another, and any references herein to any organizations, specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, do not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement or recommendation by the Chamber.

Local Control

The Chamber supports legislation in an effort to amend the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act, so as to allow for the certification of certain local water and/or sewer authorities and storm water utilities as “local issuing authorities” by the Georgia EPD. Because the staffing and operational costs of activities that result through the use of asset forfeiture funds are borne by a local government and its law enforcement agencies, the Chamber believes in maintaining local control and local utilization of those funds and do not feel the State of Georgia should take possession or decide how they are to be spent.

Education

In regards to education, the Chamber supports the plan to restore full funding of the Quality Basic Education formula by eliminating austerity cuts or by decreasing austerity cuts annually by at least 15 percent. In addition, require proposed legislation, impacting education, to be accompanied with full funding for implementation, or include a one year implementation delay with a fiscal note detailing budgetary impact.

Finally the Chamber supports the revision and finalization of the flexibility options to include a school system’s ability to waive requirements, when choice options and other innovations are successfully implemented. DC Chamber Government Affairs Chair and AT&T External Affairs Manager, Rich Johnson, expressed his enthusiasm regarding the legislative goals for the Chamber in 2014.

“This year’s legislative agenda will continue to provide the chamber the opportunity to serve Douglas County and act as the voice of business. Focusing on job creation and economic growth, I am confident the chamber’s legislative agenda will be a catalyst for dialogue on how to move the county forward.” The Chamber’s Chairmans Club recently attended the Georgia Chamber’s Eggs & Issues Breakfast in downtown Atlanta where they heard from Governor Nathan Deal. Chamber President & CEO, Kali Boatright, commented on the event and how beneficial it is for Douglasville and Douglas County to be represented, “The Eggs and Issues Breakfast was a great way for the Douglas County Chamber to jump into the legislative session and understand the priorities of our state’s top elected leaders," said Boatright.

"That understanding helps the Chamber better represent the voices of our own businesses and that of our community at the state level.” For more information on the Douglas County Chamber or to view the full 2014 Legislative Agenda, visit www.douglascountygeorgia.com

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