Georgians were rightly excited to hear the news that Mercedes and its 950 jobs were coming to town when it was revealed last month. As these corporate captures command, Georgia had to provide incentives to Mercedes in the amount of $23.3 million, which works out to $24,540 per job. Fulton county kicked in with a benefits package of its own in order to push the overall Georgia cost package to $45m, this making the real number of the cost per job closer to $47,368.
Georgia’s office of economic development, the governor’s office, and Fulton County should be lauded for landing this economic jewel (as they have been).
Can you imagine how much back slapping and high-fiving there’d be down at the Capitol if we’d gotten a company in here that’d bring as many jobs as nearly 60 Mercedes headquarters, that those jobs would be distributed around the state, not just in Metro Atlanta, at a net cost per job LESS than what we just paid for Mercedes?
We don’t want those kind of jobs, obviously. It would mostly be doctors and nurses, etc. Who needs them?
But let’s pretend we did. If you haven’t figured out we are talking about the jobs juggernaut that is Medicaid expansion. According to the Governor’s office and a Georgia State study, electing to take the Medicaid expansion would create 56,247 jobs. These would be high paying jobs, with nearly 2/3rds of those jobs being outside of Atlanta to areas that could really use them. It would shore up rural tax bases. It would even save lives, but let’s ignore that part for a minute. It’s like getting a ton more tax revenue without raising taxes (because we are getting tax revenue from the Federal dollars coming in). And that’s because the net cost of this expansion would only be $353 million. Yeah, it’s a lot, but jobs, people…jobs.
And those doctors and nurses jobs? They’d cost us $6,274 each. Why aren’t we doing this again?
Two years ago it would have been a muted response. Georgia and the general assembly were caught up in the national political picture that polarized the electorate and our gubernatorial and senatorial races meant there wasn’t a sliver of a chance we’d be able to ignore those partisan trade winds.
But now it may be different. The appetite for jobs has changed the debate such that Tennessee will decide this week whether to take the expansion and it looks like they will.
Though it would mean billions for our state, we’ve decided to let other states have our money and jobs because we’ve sacrificed them on the principal that we don’t want to have anything to do with anything that had Obama’s name on it. That’s fine, which is why we should just call this the Healthy Jobs Bill. The fact that it would provide much needed healthcare and insure many who need it, well, that’s just gravy.