County Commission talks upbeat economic report

Elimination of the sales tax on energy for manufacturers is gaining momentum among lawmakers, officials say.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County Commission ended its regular meeting Monday on an upbeat note, talking about a recent report from state economic experts who said that Albany was doing a better job than the state as a whole creating jobs.

Commissioner Gloria Gaines called the report "encouraging," and said that positive news was welcomed in a time when good economic news was hard to find.

"It's encouraging that our city and our region were performing better than expected," Gaines said. "Obviously it's not time to let up, but it's nice to have good, positive news like this."

Dougherty County Chairman Jeff "Bodine" Sinyard agreed that it was welcomed news and said that the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission was working closely with several additional prospects who are considering relocating or expanding operations in Albany.

Also at the meeting, Gaines also spoke to the progress of an initiative to eliminate the state sales tax that manufacturers pay for energy.

That tax, according to both state and corporate officials, cost industry millions of dollars each year and is largely unique to Georgia when compared to surrounding states, making the peach state less appealing to prospective manufacturers.

Sinyard said that he has yet to anything put on to paper, but that the discussions that he's heard coming from Atlanta seem to suggest a phased-out approach where the tax will slowly be removed over either a three, five or seven year period so the impact on the state budget will be less severe.