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Chamber takes shine to lawmakers
Most rank well for pro-business effort
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Forsyth County News

Members of Forsyth County’s state legislative delegation recently received high praise from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Both of the local senators, District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy and District 51 state Sen. Steve Gooch received A+ ratings from the organization.

Murphy, a Republican from Cumming, thanked the chamber “for acknowledging my commitment to supporting pro-business policy initiatives that spur private-sector job growth.”

“Receiving this distinction is a great honor and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to ensure the long-term financial stability of our state,” he said in a statement.

Gooch, a Dahlonega Repubican, said he was also honored by the designation, saying “economic development is crucial to the future of our state regardless of whether the business is a family-owned timber yard or a large corporation. Their rights and privileges must be protected.”

“We must continue to concentrate on policies that grow our economy and on initiatives that invest in Georgia’s economic future,” he added.

The chamber bases its rankings on how legislators vote on key issues it deems important for business to thrive in the state, specifically in business and industry, health care, judiciary, economic development and education and work force.

Three of the five state representatives that cover Forsyth, all Republicans, received a perfect A+ score: District 24 state Rep. Mark Hamilton of Cumming; District 22 state Rep. Calvin Hill of Canton; and District 9 state Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville.

District 25 state Rep. Mike Dudgeon of south Forsyth received an A rating, since he voted against Senate Bill 24, dubbed the hospital bed tax.

District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Forsyth County also saw his score reduced for voting against the bill. He received a C+ as a result, and for his opposition to House Bill 318, which extended state tax credits for another two years for “angel” investments.

But Duncan noted he’s supportive of many of the chamber’s initiatives.

“As a small business owner, I definitely value their efforts to grow our economy across Georgia,” he said. “With that being said, my constituent scorecard is much more important than the chamber score card.

“And when they sent me to the Capitol, they sent me down there with a mandate not to grow the size of government. And several pieces of the legislation used as the chamber scorecard, without a shadow of a doubt, grew the size of government.”

Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark noted both Democrats and Republicans fared well with the chamber, adding both are “taking private-sector growth seriously.”

“They realize how important these issues are to the state and to their constituents and that we must take action to encourage investment and job creation,” Clark said. “We are proud that there was such broad-based, bipartisan support for each of the scorecard bills. As a result, we will improve Georgia’s overall competitiveness and reputation as a state that is open for business.”