Georgia records $21B in state-subsidized economic projects

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp smiles as he stands next to a Rivian electric truck during a ceremony to announce that the electric truck maker plans to build a $5 billion battery and assembly plant east of Atlanta projected to employ 7,500 workers, on Dec. 16, 2021, in Atlanta. A Georgia judge on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, rejected an agreement that would have provided a huge property tax break to Rivian Automotive, clouding the upstart electric truck maker's plans to build a plant east of Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Gov. Brian Kemp says Georgia recorded $21.2 billion in state-tracked business investments, with new and expanding companies committing to create 51,000 jobs during the year that ended June 30.

The Republican governor, who’s touting his achievements as he seeks a second term against Democrat Stacey Abrams, said that was a new record. Announced investment nearly doubled from the previous record, while announced jobs rose by more than 50%.

“Our success means that hardworking Georgians have every opportunity imaginable to also succeed, and it is what drives our efforts day-in and day-out,” Kemp said in a statement.

In reality, much business investment and many new jobs never get state incentives and are not tracked by the state, which has a $683 billion annual economy. All the announced investment and jobs may not come to pass.

Those totals included 15,000 jobs and more than $10 billion in promised investment connected to new electric vehicle plants planned by Rivian Automotive near Rutledge east of Atlanta and Hyundai Motor Group in Ellabell west of Savannah.

Georgia’s Department of Economic Development counted 358 projects that got state incentives. Beyond Hyundai and Rivian, the other projects pledged $10.6 billion in investment and nearly 36,000 jobs.

Georgia has offered billions in incentives for the projects, more than $3 billion for Hyundai and Rivian alone.

The state says $18 billion of the investment and more than 30,000 new jobs were pledged outside the 10 counties that make up the core of the metro Atlanta region. Kemp and other Republicans have focused on creating jobs in rural Georgia, saying they want to spur the economy. Rural regions of Georgia are among the state’s most Republican.

Officials say Georgia’s economic strengths include Atlanta’s airport, Savannah’s port, and existing strength in logistics and distribution.

International companies announced more than $8 million in investment. South Korea, led by Hyundai, was the top foreign investor, followed by Germany, Japan, France and the Netherlands.

Kemp has announced 120,000 new jobs and $43 billion in investments since taking office.