Mystery employer considering Ga., governor says

Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 8:30 AM
Last updated 8:42 AM
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ATLANTA -- A large company is considering Georgia as the site of a new development, Gov. Nathan Deal said Thursday while declining to identify it.

The governor was speaking to publishers and reporters with the Georgia Press Association during Publishers Day at the Capitol. He made the announcement as part of his appeal to the group to remain flexible to proposals to limit public access to information about industrial prospects until they have made the decision to come to Georgia.

He compared the current prospect to Kia Motors Co., the Korean automaker that built a plant in West Point that employs 3,000 and has a dozen suppliers in the state with a comparable number of workers.

The governor’s spokesman said he didn’t have information about either the type of industry or the part of the state being considered.

“The state of Georgia is in the final stages of negotiating what will, hopefully, be the largest new-business opportunity for the state of Georgia since Kia,” Deal said. “At the same time, we’re having our biggest competitor file open-records requests in order to determine what Georgia’s offer is going to be.”

While Deal is negotiating with the industrial prospect, his staff is negotiating with the Press Association on legislation introduced last year by Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga. The bill would exempt documents about offers of tax breaks, worker training and other freebies offered by the state until after the prospective company publicly announces its intention to locate in Georgia or not. The publishers want the information made available to the public 10 days before the formal announcement so members of the public can gauge the impact on them.

The governor argues that other states don’t have similar laws requiring most documents -- including internal files, letters and emails -- to be available to the public upon request. He likened trying to negotiate under such a system to playing cards.

“When your competitor knows what cards you’re holding and you don’t know what cards they’re holding, this is a very competitive game,” he said.

Otis Rayburn, publisher of the Rome News-Tribune and president of the Press Association, said most publishers aren’t interested in spoiling the state’s chances of attracting new employers since newspapers need a strong economy, too. And he said instances are rare in which media outlets use the state’s Open Records Act to gain sensitive information during negotiations.

“I think we’re open to a compromise,” he said.

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David Parker
David Parker 01/13/12 - 09:41 am
"secret secrets are no fun.

"secret secrets are no fun. secret secrets hurt someone."

c'mon spill gubna

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 01/13/12 - 10:05 am
Yes Spill it so the other

Yes Spill it so the other states can scoop the jobs away from here!! I'll bet you pay an extra 50% on taxes too!

David Parker
David Parker 01/13/12 - 10:23 am
good point. I'm just super

good point. I'm just super interested in what's coming to my fave state. Also hoping the only increase in taxation falls on those who don't pay their share already.

You guessed it...Frank Stallone
You guessed it...Frank Stallone 01/13/12 - 01:11 pm
Augusta needs a third wheel

Augusta needs a third wheel to add a buffer against economic downturn. Feds and meds can't provide economic growth alone. A large automobile manufacturing plant in addition to all the parts suppliers would provide an economic and quality of life explosion for which this area hasn't seen since the textile/cotton mills days.

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