Georgia: Fast becoming a major global trade hub

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal
Source: Office of the Governor
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

Editor's note: This commentary was written before the release of the Top States 2015 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.

In the past five years, Georgia has made communities safer, provided for infrastructure improvements, driven workforce development, generated a better business environment and created jobs. Together with all levels of government, business leaders and citizens, we have implemented innovative tax reform that incentivizes business growth, passed smart-on-crime criminal justice reform, saved the HOPE Scholarship and created new educational opportunities for generations to come. We have come a long way, and are still climbing confidently onward toward a better tomorrow.

Since 2011, Georgians have witnessed the creation of approximately 397,000 private-sector jobs, balanced and frugal budgets, the implementation of pro-business and pro-family tax policies and a huge influx of companies. This is not the product of mere luck; it is the result of the diligence, cooperation and innovation within the public and private sectors. Our state, much like its people, is resilient.

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Our competitiveness is a dynamic, complex combination of factors that includes our top-ranked workforce and transportation and logistics infrastructure.

If a product cannot be efficiently delivered to a customer, a company's reputation as well as bottom line are in jeopardy. State government plays a critical role in providing the infrastructure that businesses need to succeed. Georgia's unique transportation and logistics infrastructure meets this challenge every day. From our landscape of rivers, lakes, fields and mountains, suppliers can reach 80 percent of the U.S. market in a two-day truck drive. As for our roads and bridges, we in Georgia took action this year for new funding to maintain the very lanes that keep our businesses and families moving.

With the world's busiest passenger airport and North America's fastest-growing port located here, any business can be assured that its supply lines will never run dry in Georgia. Our commitment to deepening the Port of Savannah, which broke ground last year, will ensure that our logistics network is able to keep up with demand. In fact, this year our state experienced a record increase in both exports and imports for the fifth consecutive year, with a 4.9 percent increase in exports and 11.5 percent increase in imports. Now that's a competitive advantage.

Columbus, Georgia
Denis Jr. Tangney | Getty Images

One of our state's primary draws for investment is our top-ranked workforce that's fueled by our education pipeline and the innovative Georgia Quick Start program. This is a key reason why I have increased education spending every year as governor. We are also trying to better link our businesses with our educational system through my High Demand Career Initiative, which works to ensure that the coursework of today matches the needs of employers tomorrow.

As a result of the initiative and to further meet the needs of our state's most in-demand fields, students can enroll in 10 areas of study, including commercial truck driving, welding and joining technology, computer technology, early childhood care and education and practical nursing, among others. This program is just one of the ways we are ensuring the long-term competitiveness and viability of our state's workforce.

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Businesses the world over choose Georgia not because of one single reason. Rather, every business consideration points to one thing—Georgia. We have proved ourselves time and time again to be a top state for business for reasons that go beyond calculations and rankings. Georgia has the right mix of ingredients for the recipe of success for our businesses, our families and our economy, now and in the future.

—By Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal