SMYRNA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed a half dozen bills Tuesday aimed at spurring business investment in Georgia.
A bill signing ceremony at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce was highlighted by Kemp putting his name to legislation providing tax breaks to several key industries.
Senate Bill 6 includes tax credits for medical equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturers, aerospace defense projects performing arts venues, short-line railroads and developers of corporate “mega-sites.”
Kemp also signed bills aimed at streamlining the approval process for building projects, changing the definition of a small business and creating the criminal offense of organized retail theft to aid in prosecutions.
“These bills cut red tape, lower the tax burden on businesses, promote small business development and crack down on crimes that target Georgia businesses,” Kemp said.
The governor told political and business leaders Georgia has helped lead the nation’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic through his “measured reopening” of businesses while other states were shutting down economic activity entirely. He said his decision to protect livelihoods as well as lives sometimes drew criticism from the national media.
“It was not always popular to make these decisions, but it was important,” Kemp said. “Despite the headwinds of the pandemic, we continue to maintain our designation as the No.-1 place to do business.”
Kemp lifted virtually all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in an executive order that took effect last Saturday.
The governor’s order eliminated all distancing requirements for bars and restaurants and mask requirements for workers. He also lifted all restrictions covering gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, body art studios, hairstylists and massage therapists.