Arbor Place Beverage, located at 7455 Douglas Boulevard in Douglasville celebrated their recent joining of the DC Chamber on March 6. Owner Nam Kim, officiated the occasion with a DC Chamber Ribbon Cutting.
Arbor Place Beverage Depot is one of the largest package stores in the area. It has a warehouse atmosphere, offering a very large selection of beer, wine and liquor. There is a sitting area at one corner of the store where custom wine can be ordered and also a selection of store manager, Rob’s, top picks. The store also has a large assortment of cigars as well as a lottery machine.
“On behalf of the DC Chamber I would like to thank you for your support for the community and the DC Chamber! We are thrilled to have your business as a member and look forward to helping your business grow” commented Chamber Board Member, John Sell.
For more information, visit Arbor Place Beverage at 7455 Douglas Blvd. Their hours are Mon – Thu, 9am – 11pm; Fri, 9am – 11:30 pm; Sat, 8am – 11:30pm; Sun, closed.
While the national unemployment rate has been dropping in recent months, many communities are still feeling the pain and pressure of the ongoing recession. Nowhere is this more evident than in communities like Douglasville, Ga., a town outside of Atlanta. The local economy will get a boost from Medline Industries, Inc., who today announced the creation of 150 new jobs with the opening of a new 600,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art adult incontinence products manufacturing facility.
Click here to access the online media kit with b-roll of the facility, photos and additional information http://www.medline.com/special/atl-media-kit/.
“We are excited to have such a well respected and nationally recognized company like Medline join our rapidly growing bioscience community,” said Bioscience and Health IT Development Vice President David Hartnett, of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “This is a real win for Douglasville, which is rapidly becoming a desired location for companies like Medline and keeps us clearly on track to take a leadership position as a hub for medical and surgical products manufacturing and distribution.”
Medline, the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare supplies in the United States and the leading provider of disposable incontinence products to the long-term care and hospital markets, built the new facility to produce the company’s newest and most innovative adult incontinence brand of products called FitRight™. Today, more than half of all homebound older persons and more than half of all nursing home residents suffer from incontinence. This problem will become even more profound as the graying of America continues. By 2030, one out of every five Americans will be 65 or older.
In addition to Medline’s new manufacturing facility, the company maintains a 448,000 square-foot distribution center, also located in Lithia Springs, where the company ships healthcare supplies to hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers and other healthcare facilities throughout the southeast.
Fastest Machines in the Industry
The equipment at the new facility is the fastest and most technologically advanced of its kind in the country, operating at twice the speed of other incontinence product machines. The massive machines measure about the length of a football field and stand two stories high.
The machines are fully automated, producing briefs and other incontinence products from raw materials on one end of the line and packaging and boxing them up on the other end. State-of-the-art packaging equipment makes the packaging 20 percent smaller and therefore more “green,” enabling more product to fit in the cases and on the trucks for more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping and delivery.
The new facility includes a 300,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center where millions of adult briefs are shipped every week from 90 docks to Medline’s 33 distribution centers located around the country. From there, they are transported to thousands of Medline’s customers, including nursing homes, hospitals and home health agencies. Medline built its new facility with room to grow as demand for its incontinence products increases.
“This new facility is one of our biggest investments ever, and we our very thankful to the state of Georgia, Douglas County and the city of Douglasville for welcoming us with a terrific labor force and an inviting business environment in which we can succeed and, in turn, help the local community grow and thrive,” said Dan Love, president of Medline’s personal care products division. “We are proud to produce products in Douglasville that will have a major positive impact on millions of elderly people throughout the country.”
FitRight Promotes Comfort and Dignity
The new patent-pending FitRight brief, which was created with considerable research and input from caregivers and residents, was designed with the resident’s comfort and dignity in mind.
FitRight is made with a super-absorbent polymer that absorbs more fluid and feels dryer longer than the typical brief. FitRight’s unique antileak guards and “4D Core with Odor Protection” prevent leakage and wicks fluid away from the body to enhance the comfort and dignity of the resident. FitRight is also designed to be more discreet with a garment-like fit to help promote more confidence, mobility and independence.
As the nation’s largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products, Medline is the leading provider of healthcare supplies to the long-term care market. Medline manufactures and distributes more than 125,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, physician offices and home care dealers. Named one of the “100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare,” Medline is headquartered in Mundelein, Ill. and has more than 1,100 dedicated sales representatives to support its broad product line and cost management services.
By Cassius Butts, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
As Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, I travel throughout Georgia and meet with small business owners. Recently, I heard from Nathan McNeal, at McNeal Professional Services, who took advantage of some of the newly authorized federal tax cuts. Unfortunately, not all small businesses are as informed as this wireless engineering firm in Kennesaw.
Many small businesses don’t realize that President Obama has already signed into law 17 small business tax cuts or that the President has proposed an additional five small business tax cuts in his budget for 2013. These tax cuts are available to all types of small businesses, from main street shops to high growth startups and everything in between.
President Obama knows that the story of America’s success has been written by our entrepreneurs and small business owners, and that’s why he is doing everything he can to make sure small businesses have the tools they need to create an economy built to last.
How can your business benefit THIS YEAR in tax breaks?
Are you an investor in a small business?
- Some capital gains have been fully eliminated on certain small business stock, which provides an incentive for financiers to invest in qualified small business. Capital gains on investments held more than 5 years in qualified small businesses are 100% exempt for the 2012 tax year.
Are you a start-up?
- Start-up entrepreneurs can deduct $5,000 for start-up expenditures, and the President is working to double this deduction in his budget for 2013.
Are you a small business owner that has purchased new equipment?
- If you have bought new equipment, you can write-off a larger portion of the cost of that new equipment this year rather than depreciating the cost over time. The President has raised the maximum amount a small business can expense on new equipment to $560,000 in 2012, up from $250,000 in 2009.
- President Obama also signed legislation which allows businesses to write-off the cost of their equipment purchases more quickly by allowing up to 50% bonus depreciation in the first year of an investment.
Are you a small business owner that provides health care to your employees or to yourself?
- Tax credits are available for starting or continuing to provide health insurance coverage for your employees, and this applies even if you are self-employed.
Have you been in business for up to 5 years?
- You may “carry back” your business credit up to five years to offset taxes and assist in difficult economic times. Businesses can apply their 2011 credits to previous tax payments going back to 2006.
Are you a small business owner that uses a cell phone?
- Starting in 2010, the process for deducting the cost of your cell phone and monthly bills was vastly simplified.
As you can see, there are a lot of tax cuts that small businesses can benefit from this year, but small businesses stand to gain even more from a number of recent proposals that President Obama has put forward. President Obama proposed several additional tax cuts for small businesses in his 2013 budget, including:
- Permanently eliminating taxes on capital gains in key investments
- 10% income tax credit on aggregate wages in 2012 in excess of those in 2011
- Permanently doubling the amount of start-up expenses entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes to $10,000
- Expanding the healthcare tax credit to small businesses with up to 50 employees
- Eliminating complicated depreciation schedules for most small businesses and simplifying tax returns by streamlining the home office deductions
President Obama has also announced a framework for reducing and simplifying the U.S. tax system to enhance American competitiveness. This includes lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28%, and reforming the tax code to make tax filing simpler for small businesses and entrepreneurs so that they can focus on growing their businesses rather than filling out tax returns.
Please be sure to stay tuned to what the SBA is doing to assist small business, helping them start, grow and creating an economy built to last. Follow us on Twitter #SBASoutheast and on Face Book, SBA Southeast or contact your SBA Georgia District Offices by visiting www.sba.gov/ga.
As you know, the EEOC enforces several of the federal laws related to discrimination. Those laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees.
- Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA. The EEOC’s view is that employers are missing the boat regarding what their obligation is and what is and is not an undue hardship. In our experience, many employers have trouble with these concepts and often guess wrong. Not to sound like a commercial, these are issues with which employers and some lawyers need assistance before there is a problem. We have someone here who lives in the world of ADA and FMLA and knows her stuff. You may recall from our presentation that ADA claims are on the rise and the failure to accommodate is the theory for many of these claims.
- Disparate Impact. The EEOC sees this as a primary focus of its mission. Disparate impact discrimination occurs when an employer has a policy or practice that on its face looks or is neutral to all employees or applicants but in practice has the unintended affect of disadvantaging a certain group. The most famous case involved an employer that required all applicants to take a test. A bad score disqualified the candidate. The problem for the employer was that the test had absolutely nothing to do with the job and it screened out minorities at a much higher rate than whites. Criminal background check policies, which is a specific focus of the EEOC, are a good example of a policy that could have a disparate impact. Since studies show that minorities have a higher percentage of arrests and convictions than whites, a policy that screens out all applicants with arrests or convictions without regard to the crime or relationship to the job negatively impacts minorities. If you have a policy on arrests and convictions, you should take a look at it.
- Unemployed. The EEOC is looking to further its agenda of protecting the “unemployed” even though being unemployed is not a protected class under federal law. The EEOC would rely on a disparate impact theory based on the premise that more minorities are in the ranks of the unemployed.
- Criminal Background Checks. See number 2 above. The EEOC’s official guidance on an employer’s use of arrest or conviction information in making employment decisions is 10 or more years old. The EEOC is set to review and revise its guidance on this issue.
- Credit Checks. This is another hot button. EEOC believes that disqualifying applicants based on credit history also may create disparate impact discrimination based on the groups of persons likely to be negatively affected by such a policy. See No. 2 above.
- Veterans. Another area where the EEOC is looking for disparate impact discrimination. EEOC is looking for policies that disqualify applicants from employment for anything other than an honorable discharge (e.g., a BCD) as possibly having a disparate impact on minorities – primarily African American males.
- High School Diploma Requirement. Still another area for the disparate impact analysis. The EEOC believes that a blanket policy of requiring a high school diploma potentially may have a disparate impact on minorities and/or those with learning disabilities. If you have such a requirement, you may want to consider why you have such a policy. If you cannot show that having a diploma is related to the job duties to be performed, your policy could be subject to challenge. For example, if you were hiring window washers, it may be difficult to show how having a diploma relates to that job.
- Care Givers. While not directly a protected class, the EEOC is looking at ways to protect them under the ADA, pregnancy, etc. Just recently, the EEOC discussed its aim to enforce the pregnancy discrimination laws, noting that the number of such claims are trending upward. The good news is that except for the rights granted to pregnant employees who are eligible for FMLA protection and where the pregnancy may create an ADA situation due to complications, pregnant employees have no greater rights than other employees. Pregnancy standing alone is not a disability and the pregnancy discrimination laws don’t require employers to grant preferential treatment to pregnant employees or to accommodate pregnancy-related limitations. On the flip side, the pregnancy law prohibits employers from treating employees differently because they are pregnant. Generally speaking, if an employer allows non-pregnant employees to miss work or not perform up to standards, it cannot hold the pregnant employee to a different standard. Perhaps the most common mistake employers make in this regard is making assumptions about pregnant employees and then acting on those assumptions. Always a good idea to know where the lines are before making a comment or taking an action.
- Equal Pay Claims / Issues. Another hot button issue for the EEOC.
- Leave Policies. Maybe close to the top of the hot button list. Some EEOC offices have taken the position that if an employer’s leave policy that does not specifically mention the ADA, that the policy violates the ADA. The EEOC also takes the position that an employer’s leave policy that has a hard cap on the amount of leave an employee can take (excluding FMLA leave) violates the ADA. The theory is that leave may be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and the reasonableness of the leave is determined on a case by case basis. Therefore, a policy capping leave does not consider the reasonableness issue for a particular situation. The EEOC is looking for such policies and if it finds them, it may pursue a systemic claim. Fortunately, we can draft language that sets a soft cap with caveats for individual situations.
Week Five – Feb 10
Legislation to repeal and replace TIA introduced
Rep. Setzler (R-Cobb County) and two co-sponsors, introduced legislation this week to repeal the requirements of the existing Transportation Investment Act (TIA).
The legislation, HB 938 and HR 1350, repeals the existing TIA law and calls for an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that establishes, among other things, a process where two or more counties can levy a sales tax for transportation purposes. The legislation also restricts MARTA from using any special district sales tax receipts for maintenance and operations.
During December’s joint RBC, Association County Commissioners of Georgia and Georgia Municipal Association TIA seminar, House Speaker David Ralston indicated that too much work had gone into the adoption of project lists statewide and that, except for possibly some technical changes to the law, he felt strongly it was now up to the voters to decide whether to approve their regions transportation improvement sales tax. The TIA project lists were adopted unanimously in almost all twelve regions.
Legislative rules require two-thirds of the House (120 votes) and two-thirds of the Senate (37 votes) to pass legislation to amend the Georgia Constitution.
Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle Meets with RBC Board of Directors
Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle met with the RBC Board of Directors during our February Board of Directors meeting this week at the Capitol. Lieutenant Governor Cagle shared his thoughts on transportation funding and the need to look for alternative sources of funding and methods for providing transportation options to all Georgians.
Lt. Governor Cagle was asked if he believed the sales tax exemption for energy used in manufacturing would pass this session. The lt. governor stated Georgia needed to be competitive with our neighboring states for manufacturing jobs and all our neighbor states already exempted manufacturing from the sales tax on energy. He also said that the exemption needed to be on all sales taxes, both state and local. However, he further said there needed to be some mechanism to keep local schools and other local services from being negatively impacted by the reduction in sales tax receipts.
When asked about water resources for the metro Atlanta region, he stated Lake Lanier wasn’t sufficient to meet the future needs of a growing Atlanta region and that additional reservoirs needed to be built and the region needed to continue its water conservation efforts.
On the issue of transit governance, the lieutenant governor believes it must be addressed. However, he believes it will take at least one more year to consider all the issues related to transit governance.
Transit governance is an issue that not only impacts the metro Atlanta region, but almost every county statewide. There are over 100 transit service providers throughout Georgia. Transit services are provided in every state Senate district and in 174 of Georgia’s 180 House districts.
House Passes Amended Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget
The House passed the amended FY 2012 budget this week and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The House Appropriations Committee now begins work in earnest on the proposed FY 2013 budget which runs July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013.
The governor’s proposed FY13 budget is $39 billion, of which $19 billion come from state funds. Some of the largest expenditures will go for GDOT ($2B total, $783M state), Community Health ($12B total, $3B state), and the Board of Regents ($6B total, $2B state). Debt service is estimated to remain at approximately 7% of the prior years net treasury receipts.
This Week’s Legislative Calendar
The Georgia General Assembly has completed eighteen legislative days. Twenty two legislative days remain in the 2012 legislative session. This week the legislature will pass its half way point. This week’s legislative days will be Wednesday February 15th (19th legislative day), Thursday (20th) and Friday February 17, 2012 (21st legislative day).
Legislation on Jobs Tax Credits introduced as part of Governor’s Competitive Initiative
Legislation that was a portion of Governor Deal’s “Competitive Initiative” efforts was introduced this week in the House. HB 868 makes many significant improvements to the qualifying factors and value of jobs tax credits for new and expanded businesses throughout Georgia and should help businesses create more jobs for Georgians.
Over the past year, the RBC has been in informal discussions with the Department of Economic Development to address job growth in metropolitan counties, which are generally Tier 3 and Tier 4 counties and therefore don’t qualify for substantial jobs tax credits under Georgia law. While the draft legislation strongly encourages growth in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties, significant unemployment and competitiveness issues continue to be faced by metropolitan cities and counties. In fact, the unemployment rate in many metropolitan counties exceeds the state’s average unemployment rate.
The draft legislation does not address instances where job losses in metropolitan counties can have an equal or greater negative impact than a plant closing in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county. The legislation also does not address the need to match jobs tax credits for new or expanding businesses in metropolitan counties who are in competition for new jobs with other states. The department has indicated a willingness to discuss amending the legislation in an effort to address these concerns.
Compared to 2011 the 2012 Legislative Session is Getting off to a Quick Start
This year’s 14th legislative day was February 3rd. Because of last year’s snow storm, the 14th legislative day wasn’t until February 15th.
So far this session the House has introduced 589 bills and resolutions compared to just 541 last year. The Senate has introduced 270 measures this year compared to 251 last year.
Very few pieces of legislation have made it to either floor for a vote. All 2011 legislation is treated like new legislation in the committees and must go through another round of committee hearings prior to being considered in 2012.
Twenty six legislative days remain in the 2012 legislative session. This week’s legislative days were Monday February 6th (15th legislative day), Tuesday (16th), Wednesday (17th) and Thursday (18th legislative day).
The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (the “Act”) created the State Small Business Credit Initiative, funded with $1.5 billion to strengthen state lending programs that support small businesses and manufacturers. Of that total amount allocated, Georgia was allocated $47,808,507 in December of 2011. Any approved program must ultimately generate $10 in private leverage for each public dollar awarded by the state.
Following discussions with Treasury and completion of the rule-making for the program, Georgia’s SSBCI proposal now contains three programs. Those programs are: 1) GA Funding for CDFIs, to which the State will allocate $20 million; 2) GA SBCG, or Small Business Credit Guarantee, to which the State will allocate $17,808,507; and 3). GCAP (Georgia Capital Access Program), to which the State will allocate $10 million.
|The DCA, in coordination with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance (GDB&F) has developed participation parameters for banks, credit unions, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other private financial lenders. DCA will be holding workshops through-out the state. The first is in rural Georgia at the Tifton Rural Development Center on March 15th. Other marketing outreach program to inform and educate lenders and small businesses about Georgia’s SSBCI programs will be conducted around the state. A description of the SSBCI initiatives details follow.
GA Funding for CDFIs
The CDFIs currently operating in Georgia are positioned in the metro and rural underserved communities to establish relationships with local banks, local chambers of commerce, economic development authorities and small business owners that are recognizing the need for job creation on a local or personal level. By partnering with Banks, the CDFIs plan to leverage the SSBCI funds 10:1 over the life of the program. CDFIs generally partner with banks to provide traditional “gap financing” by structuring their loans as subordinated debt to leverage a bank’s first lien debt.
GA Small Business Credit Guarantee
The GA SBCG, or Small Business Credit Guarantee, will provide a 50% credit guarantee to the lender with a conversion option, whereby participating lenders may choose to convert any enrolled credit guarantee to a 10% (of the remaining principal) deposit to a loan loss reserve account where the reserve can cover up to an 80% loss on any individual loan. Turnaround on the Guarantee request by participating private lenders is expected to be days, not weeks.
Georgia Capital Access Program
The Georgia Capital Access Program (GCAP) will be a new small business lending program. The Program assists small businesses with obtaining loans through participating financial institutions (lenders). GCAP lenders may be banks, credit unions, or CDFIs, as defined in the SSBCI act. The lenders are encouraged to make loans to small businesses whose requests meet “traditional” underwriting standards but whose assets are impacted by the ongoing economic restructuring (real-estate values, perception of receivables strength, etc.).
GCAP provides portfolio insurance to the lenders by requiring insurance premiums to be paid, by the borrower and the lender, to a loan loss reserve fund for each loan enrolled. The borrower and lender each make an equal contribution of 2% of the amount enrolled, which GCAP will match, to a lender’s loan loss reserve account. A borrower may also pay the lender’s fee, and vice versa, as long as a written agreement is signed. GCAP allows the borrower’s fee to be financed and may be part of the loan proceeds. Each financial institution has a separate loan loss reserve fund managed by GCAP.
S’More BBQ, located at 6855 Douglas Boulevard in Douglasville celebrated their grand opening on January 26. Owner and manager Tina Cowley celebrated the occasion with a DC Chamber Ribbon Cutting.
With more than 60 combined years of hospitality industry experience between the owners, their vision for S’More BBQ is centered around a shared love of God, country, family, and of course, food! S’More BBQ offers a variety of food ranging from their popular barbeque and macaroni and cheese to more unique items such as their Do It Yourself S’mores (the only dessert in town that has a disclaimer!) and State Fair Dessert – Funnel Cake with Strawberry sauce, fried chocolate bars and fried Oreo cookies topped with powdered sugar. Top that with excellent customer service and an friendly atomosphere and they guarantee you’ll be asking for “S’More”!
Newly elected Mayor Harvey Persons and Councilman Carl Pope were present for the occasion and offered welcoming remarks to the new business. “It is great to see new businesses occupying currently standing buildings. On behalf of the City of Douglasville we appreciate your efforts to help our community grow,” stated the Mayor.
For more information on S’More BBQ, contact them at 678.4263.3661,or visit their website, www.smorebbq.com.
Ameriprise Financial Relocates Office
Douglasville, GA – Ameriprise Financial, located at 3133 Golf Ridge Blvd, Suite 201 in Douglasville celebrated their relocation and kick off to 2012 on January 10. Proprieter and Financial Advisor, Patti Puckett; Associate Financial Advisor, Guy Moore; and Client Services Manager Susanne Spruill, officiated the occasion with a DC Chamber Ribbon Cutting.
Ameriprise Financial offers financial planning, investment advisory services, insurance and annuities to help clients meet their financial goals. They focus on retirement planning, managing assets for retirement income, and the needs of small businesses. Ameriprise Financial specializes in helping people through financial transitions, whether it’s into retirement, selling a business, losing a spouse or receiving an inheritance, we can help clients look at the big picture and make smart financial decisions for their future.
“As a long time friend and colleague, I am thrilled to see Ameriprise Financial growing in Douglas County. I applaud Patti for her hard work and dedication, and welcome her newest additions,” commented Douglas County District Four Commissioner, Ann Jones-Guider.
For more information on Ameriprise Financial, contact Patti Puckett at 678-391-0324, visit their website, www.ameripriseadvisors.com/patti.h.puckett.
The Douglas County Chamber of Commerce Foundation presents the Chamber Leadership Scholarships annually to two High School Seniors from the Douglas County School System who have demonstrated their leadership in the community. The first place scholarship is $1,000.00 and the second place scholarship is $500.00. The applicants must have a cumulative 3.5 grade point average or higher, plan to attend an institution of higher learning, have demonstrated leadership experience through school, community activity or work experience, and write a one-page essay on a leader they admire and why. Applications are available online at www.douglascountygeorgia.com under the Leadership tab. Applications are due March 15, 2012 by 5:00 p.m.
The Douglas County Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a non-profit organization designed specifically for educational projects revolving around business leadership. If you are interested in learning more about the Foundation and its functions or to donate to the scholarship fund please contact Sara Ray at 770.942.5022 ext. 306 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The mission of the Douglas County Chamber of Commerce is to support, promote and attract business for the advancement of our community. The Chamber of Commerce currently serves over 700 member businesses. For more information please contact us at 770.942.5022 or visit our Web-site at www.douglascountygeorgia.com.