Senate approves increase in GWCC bonding capacity

[private]The Georgia Senate voted 45-9 Friday to approve legislation (HB 264) that will double the Georgia World Congress Center’s authorized bonding capacity from $200 million to $400 million.

GWCC officials plan to use the expanded bonding capacity to finance the construction of a new hotel near the World Congress Center that would cost an estimated $260 million to build.

“The Georgia World Congress Center is expanding,” said Sen. P. K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville). “It will benefit us to have more hotel rooms.”

Critics of the bill, such as Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen), questioned whether the additional bonding capacity would adversely affect Georgia’s AAA bond rating with the credit rating agencies.

“This is crony capitalism,” Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) said. “We should not be subsidizing this.”

“These bonds are the sole responsibility of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority,” Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) said. “The state of Georgia has no responsibility in this indebtedness.”

HB 264 had already been passed by the House, so it now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal, who is expected to sign it since the bill was requested by his office.

The Senate voted 51-0 to pass HB 183, which will move the Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council from the administrative control of the EPD to the Department of Community Affairs.

On the other side of the rotunda, the House voted 162-0 to pass HR 389, a resolution backed by Speaker David Ralston that would create an advisory council to recommend ways to encourage economic development in rural counties.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council , Georgia World Congress Center