2017 Archives

October 31--  State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia reports on the state's economic engines including the Port of Savannah and the growing film industry.

Port of Savannah. One of our biggest economic engines has reported a record FY 2017. The port shipped 3.8 million containers and collected over $373 million in revenue . Garden City is now home to the fastest growing port in the Western Hemisphere, and the 3rd fastest in the world behind Ningho and Guangzhou in China, having shipped 1 million containers in the first quarter of FY 2018, another record year is in the cards.

Georgia Film Industry.  FilmLA, the top authority on the motion film industry, has named Georgia the #1 location for filming in the world. We have been heading for that designation for some time, so the designation is not a surprise. However, the numbers really are astounding.

In fiscal year 2017, the film industry generated $9.5 billion in economic impact with $2.7 billion of it in direct spending. That is a year to year increase of 25% and 33 %, respectively with 320 film and television productions completed in calendar year 2017.

Georgia has had notable spurts of film activity through the decades(think Deliverance and Smokey and the Bandit in the 70’s and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in the 90’s). What makes now different is that the film industry has been putting down permanent roots in Georgia, building studios and developing a strong supporting workforce. Over 28,000 Georgians are now employed in the film industry.

The Left Coast folks in the film industry comment on our southern hospitality and the diversity of our state in terms of urban and rural options(skyscrapers and a bunch of fine small towns with stately courthouses). But understand, they are here for one reason only. They can typically film a production here for 30% less because of the tax credits Georgia offers the film industry. While poor fiscal health of competitors like California, Louisiana, and New York have caused them to trim back their incentives Georgia's strong balance sheet allows us to afford them.

Although I was skeptical in the beginning, I supported them, but admit I never believed they would be this successful. Every penny we have invested in the film industry in the form of tax credits has come back to Georgia taxpayers dressed up as nickels.

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