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AFLAC's $100-million expansion plan in Columbus will take place on the company's Paul S. Amos Campus at Corporate Ridge, where claims processing and call center functions are already located. The company will add 2,000 jobs to its payroll during the same period that nearby Fort Benning will be increasing its military and civilian population with the addition of some 10,000 soldiers and their families.

ooking for a concrete embodiment of the corporate investment environment in Georgia? Construction equipment makers Bobcat (in Carrollton) and Caterpillar (in LaGrange) have both committed to new plant projects in 2005.
   "You plant, and then you wait patiently for the seeds to sprout," Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue told attendees of the state's annual economic outlook conference in early December, noting his middle Georgia farming background. "At each step, you support those seedlings as they grow to ensure that you get a healthy crop."
   He might have been alluding to the state's corporate income tax reform or new strategic industries tax credit, or reforms made in the name of running government for results instead of more funding. Or he might have been alluding to the infrastructure improvements going on in many corners of the state besides Atlanta. But he was not alluding to himself as the source.
   "Governors, and governments, don't create prosperity," he said. "State government's job, and my job, is to create the right conditions so that Georgians themselves can build prosperity."
   As in North Carolina and Virginia, one topic in the sights of site seekers is ongoing discussion of incentives and open records: Requests for state documents have been central to two ongoing site selection processes in Atlanta involving the recruiting of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the hoped-for retention of Ford's manufacturing facility in Hapeville. A Ford spokesman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that divulging details of the company's ongoing negotiations with the state would "severely wound" Hapeville's prospects. (Editor's Note: Ford in January confirmed that the Hapeville location would be shuttered.)
   Meanwhile, tweaking the state's headquarters incentives is on the 2006 agenda of economic developers in the state, but if Georgia's rise in Site Selection's Governor's Cup, Competitiveness Award and Business Climate rankings in 2005 is any indication, the state already has more than one HQ for corporate prosperity.

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