As General Electric mulls a move from its Connecticut headquarters, Georgia's leaders want the conglomerate to know it will welcome them with open arms.
Gov. Nathan Deal spoke with GE officials this week after chief executive Jeff Immelt told employees he is considering a move to another state with a "more pro-business environment." Immelt said the $40 billion budget approved by state lawmakers Wednesday would impose "significant and retroactive tax increases for businesses."
Deal's top aide, Chris Riley, said Georgia pounced on the opportunity.
"They are currently residing in a state that just raised taxes again, and their CFO stated over the weekend that if the state continues to promote an anti-business environment, they will be forced to look elsewhere," said Riley. "Gov. Deal wanted the phone number for the CEO to simply call and tell him about Georgia and its business environment and make sure he knew Georgia was open for business."
Georgia is eager for a big economic development win after it lost the bid for Volvo's first U.S. plant to South Carolina this month, and luring GE's headquarters would do just that. The company employs more than 5,700 people in Connecticut, including about 800 at its Fairfield headquarters.
GE has significant Georgia ties. The global headquarters of its energy management business is based in Cobb County, near the future Braves stadium.
The company's officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Deal's office said the governor has scheduled a call with Immelt next week.
Other states are expected to throw their hats in the ring as well. And Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said he would consider revisiting the tax increases during a special legislative session this summer amid the backlash from GE.
"It's not over till it's over," he told The Hartford Courant.