Gov. Deal on Engineered Floors expansion: "GA internationally known for manufacturing"
NORTHWEST GEORGIA (WRCB) -- As Georgia's international manufacturing reputation grows, it could mean more jobs for thousands of people struggling to make ends meet. On the heels of a Calhoun-based company's making plans to expand, Governor Nathan Deal says he is confident the economy is on the rebound.
Engineered Floors is planning to build two plants, one in Whitfield County, the other in Murray County. Over the next five years, up to 2,000 jobs will be created.
Channel 3 caught up with Governor Deal as he toured north Georgia Thursday, signing new legislation. He says the major expansion of Engineered Floors is just a sign of more economic growth to come.
"Certainly it means a lot to this northwest Georgia region. It has suffered a higher unemployment rate than the rest of the state, about almost two percentage points higher than state unemployment average right now," says Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
Governor Deal knows the northwest Georgia economy has seen better days, especially Dalton, the self-proclaimed "carpet capital of the world." Flooring took a major hit when the housing market took a dive.
"When then recession hit, it hit that area first. And we've had a hard time rebounding from it. But we're beginning to see positive signs there," says Deal.
As a part of the rebound, Engineered Floors will spend $450 million on two new plants in Whitfield and Murray counties. The company currently employs 1,400 people in the region and plans to add at least 2,000 new names to the payroll.
"I think the positive attitude that is being shown by Engineered Floors, the confidence that they have in the future of their product, and the confidence that they have in the workforce here in northwest Georgia, all of those are very positive signs for us," says Deal.
Deal also credits tax reform laws created last year, making it more attractive for manufacturers to expand or set up shop in the state.
"One of the real incentives for manufacturing to come to Georgia is that we are removing the sales tax on energy that's used for manufacturing," says Deal.
Bob Shaw, chairman and CEO of Engineered Floors, praised the tax breaks in his announcement, saying, "We are pleased that these new facilities will allow for further job creation for the area. The exemption of sales tax on energy in the manufacturing process makes a significant difference to manufacturers looking to grow and succeed."
"We're very pleased that the announcement has been able to be made and we look forward to it actually coming to happen," says Deal.
There is no word yet on where exactly the two plants will be built.
The unemployment rate for Whitfield and Murray counties stands at 10.2 percent. Leaders say 2,000 plus jobs could lower that by half a percentage point.