The SK Battery America plant is, appropriately, located in the city of Commerce, Georgia. The $1.6 billion project – expected to employ 2,000 – was finalized in early January 2019, but without investment from the state and local government, it might not have been built in Georgia.
“They were looking at several other states, especially in the southeastern U.S.,” said John Scott, director of economic development for Jackson County. “When we were working with them the final two sites were between here and somewhere in Tennessee.”
Quality jobs but what’s the pay?:Requirements vary among six major Georgia economic projects
Georgia is regularly touted as being the No. 1 state for business in the country, although there is some disagreement on this. Beating out competitors for major industrial projects is only one part of economic growth in Georgia, but it is one that brings in potentially thousands of jobs at a time and can include significant investments from local governments. Some experts who spoke to USA TODAY Network-Georgia said state and local developers in Georgia are careful to make sure these projects are net economic gains for the state, although others raised concerns about how transparent and democratic these projects are.
USA TODAY Network-Georgia used open records requests, state-provided data and interviews with state and local officials to examine six of these major economic development projects across Georgia.
All of the projects – mostly…