ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Economic Development, alongside Gov. Brian Kemp, offered thanks to the numerous companies across the state that have stepped up to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and health care supplies to fight COVID-19. They also reminded businesses of the new measures Kemp recently signed into law that encourage additional PPE production in the state and aid businesses that have created jobs in recent years, but whose job numbers have been harmed during the pandemic.
While the state has reported strong new job creation numbers from economic development projects in recent months, including roughly $574 million in new investments and 3,629 new jobs created in July, the immediate response to COVID-19 in March and April caused labor difficulties. On June 30, Kemp signed legislation into law that offers economic relief to companies that have created new jobs while making PPE and other critical health care supplies. The new legislation has generated strong interest from industry.
“We are deeply grateful for the hard-working manufacturers and other businesses, which have worked with resilience to respond to this unanticipated crisis, and we want them to know that they have our support,” Kemp said. “I also commend the General Assembly for supporting these measures to bolster our efforts to secure a safe, healthy and prosperous future for Georgia.”
During COVID-19, Georgia businesses that manufacture critical health care supplies have stepped up to help, adjusting operations to meet record-high demand. Additionally, large and small businesses that did not historically manufacture these supplies also found ways to pivot operations, retool machines and provide the most critical goods and services for fighting COVID-19. Some of these companies tapped assistance from state-led resources such as the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Centers of Innovation and Global Commerce divisions and their networks.
The Georgia legislature, with support from Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston, passed a tax credit to aid PPE manufacturers, including those existing Georgia manufacturers who did not traditionally manufacture PPE or hand sanitizer but began doing so in response to COVID-19. The new credit is also designed to incentivize more production of PPE and hand sanitizer in Georgia so the state will be better equipped to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and further enhance its position as a national leader in advanced manufacturing. The state’s strength across multiple manufacturing sectors resulted in a GDP of $64.7 billion in 2019, and the Georgia Department of Labor estimated that there were 387,400 manufacturing jobs in the state as of June 2020.
Additionally, changes have been made to existing job tax credit programs to give relief to existing Georgia companies whose recently created jobs have been impacted by the effects of the pandemic. Specifically, existing Georgia companies that claimed job tax credits or quality jobs tax credits in 2019 may now carry over their 2019 job creation numbers to 2020 and/or 2021. This change ensures that existing Georgia businesses impacted by COVID-19 have the flexibility to continue to receive tax credits at their 2019 levels as they work to return their employment numbers back to pre-COVID levels. The credit expires Jan. 1, 2025. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ Board of Directors has already taken action to update its policies to account for the new legislation.
Throughout Georgia’s response to COVID-19, GDEcD has led efforts to support businesses, identify companies that can restructure operations to produce PPE, and coordinate with those already doing so. The Georgia Suppliers Interactive Map and List (www.georgia.org/covid19suppliersmap), compiled by GDEcD’s Centers of Innovation, now includes more than 320 Georgia companies providing needed protective supplies, along with an interactive map displaying business location and a tool to sort supplies by category. The free tool also allows Georgia businesses to continue to support each other while protecting employees and patrons and keeps valuable dollars in the state.
“We appreciate Gov. Kemp and our state legislature for incentivizing PPE production and safeguarding Georgia job creators and businesses that have taken a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic,” GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson said. “These pro-business measures will help ensure that Georgia’s future is bright as we continue to create good jobs and keep the state prepared to face public health challenges. Our strong relationships have proven vital in this fight.
“We thank all those in our business community who have gone above and beyond to protect Georgia’s families and frontline heroes and keep our work force on a payroll.”