Setting the record straight about GARJA
Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a one-sided story about the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act. It minimizes the positive impact the program has had across Georgia and does not mention the flaws with the state audit being promoted by critics.
A 2022 Georgia Tech Research Institute analysis found several major flaws with the state audit, namely:
- The audit reports on GARJA’s five-year impact, but GARJA is a 10-year program.
- The audit presumed there would be no major job growth from GARJA, but GARJA companies have averaged 18% job growth since 2018.
- The state’s audit inconsistently shifts between economic models, undermining its own credibility and indicating it’s designed to fit a narrative.
The story makes little to no mention about the number of rural small businesses that have benefitted from GARJA, and the jobs the program has helped sustain:
- 34 rural Georgia small businesses have received investments from the program.
- These investments have helped create and sustain 2,300 rural jobs across Georgia.
- GARJA funds must be invested in rural counties with populations under 50,000, in small businesses with 250 employees or less, and every business must be based in Georgia.
The story doesn’t note any key metrics about GARJA’s positive impact on Georgia revenue:
- Right now, GARJA yields $1.28 for every $1 of state tax credit, and this presumes no additional job growth.
- Every job created or sustained by GARJA means an additional $13,400 in revenue for the state.
Lastly, the story claims that similar programs have been sent to the dustbin across the country. That’s not true:
- 18 states have passed similar programs since 2007 and those programs have been renewed 26 times.
- These programs have stimulated $6 billion in private capital deployment across their respective states, including $100 million in Georgia.