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Incoming Chamber Chairman Outlines Priorities for New Year

12/7/2009 - The new chairman of the Savannah Area Chamber has political advocacy among his top three priorities
Influencing government is always important, but in a cycle of economic downturn it becomes doubly important, said Bert Tenebaum, incoming-chair and CEO of Chatham Steel.

“We’ve got to watch the legislature in terms of taxes and fees,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

And a watch must be kept on actions that could cost jobs or slow job growth, he emphasized.

Just where the chamber will put its energies on the legislative front came into sharper focus with last week’s annual Eggs & Issues breakfast at the Westin Savannah  Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.

A greenlight for deepening the Savannah River shipping channel is seen as a key priority for generating jobs in the area. That’s why the dregding project and funding for maintenance of the channel won a spot amog the Chamber’s top 2010 legislative goals.

Joining it as key priorities were:

• Support funding to sustain and expand a state-wide trauma network.

• Prevent further cost shifting to businesses caused by the under-funding of Medicaid by supporting efforts to avoid further provider cuts.

• Support funding of the Truman Phase V Parkway project.

• Support efforts to increase state funding in tourism marketing, support tourism development through various tax incentives and encourage a coordinated statewide public school start date.

• Oppose any tax increase to employers who pay into the State unemployment trust fund.

• Support efforts that would provide community banks with significant incentives to provide better access to capital for Georgia’s small businesses.

• Support and enhance small business tax credits for job creation.

• Oppose efforts to exempt state agencies and properties from storm water utility fees.

• Support extending the State Housing Tax Credit program for first time home buyers and existing home buyers.
• Oppose any inter-basin water transfers.

• Support creating state-wide incentives for businesses, non-profits and governments to construct LEED certified, or GREEN projects.

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