Delegation votes to end Georgia Medical Center Authority

ATLANTA — The Augusta legislative delegation joined a unanimous vote in the Georgia House of Representatives on Thursday to abolish the Georgia Medical Center Authority and return any leftover funding to the state.

The authority once operated a business “incubator” on Broad Street where startup companies could get cheap rent and free management advice. Its goal was to help young companies take discoveries at Georgia Regents University and expand to provide good-paying jobs.

“In the first years of operation, they did an excellent job, and we appreciate what they did,” said Rep. Penny Houston, the vice chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The authority struggled in recent years, although a couple of its companies in the diagnostics and telemedicine fields grew national customer bases with dozens of employees.

Authority officials convinced the Legislature last year that having power to issue bonds would allow it to help more companies, but after gaining the power it never issued any bonds.

House Bill 513 would abolish the authority and rescind its bonding power because Houston’s committee heard testimony that it had no operations at all now.

“The committee felt it was no longer necessary to have the fund,” said Houston, R-Nashville.

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