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Business

Jet Makers Defend Tax Breaks

General aviation industry officials say, 7,000 Georgians go to work everyday in their industry -- and that should be good reason to keep a tax break in place for the wealthy customers who buy private airplanes. Current federal budget negotiations have opened a torrent of criticism toward what some -- including President Obama -- characterize as a tax loophole for fat cats.

Hospitals Test Electronic Records

Two Rome hospitals are making it easier for cancer patients to access and share their medical information digitally. It's part of a state effort to adopt electronic medical records.

Fires Bring Mixed Returns

Despite the Okefenokee Swamp being closed to the public, the towns near the refuge are enjoying an economic boost from fire crews. Hotel managers in Waycross reported increased occupancy over the last two months, and some restaurants have enjoyed a bump as well.

Utility Calls For More Solar Power

Georgia Power says it wants to add 50 megawatts of solar energy to its system by 2015. Georgia Power Vice President Greg Roberts told a conference Monday that a proposal now before state utility regulators would expand the use of solar energy beyond the power company's existing program.

Gulfstream Nets $2.5B Sale

A Chinese aviation leasing company has announced a deal with Gulfstream Aerospace to buy 50 high-end business jets for more than $2.5 billion. Gulfstream spokesman Jeff Miller has confirmed the deal with Minsheng Banking Corp. The deal is expected to be converted into firm orders over the next three to five years.

Asian Demand Boosts Georgia Tobacco

Georgia’s tobacco acreage is expected to hold steady this year, thanks to a new buyer in the state and high demand in Asia. Tobacco acreage has been dropping for two decades. Experts expected fewer acres of the crop to be planted this year, but now estimates from the U.S. Agriculture Department project Georgia farmers will plant about 11,000 acres of tobacco, the same amount as last year.

E-Verify Explained

Starting in January, Georgia’s new immigration law requires companies with 500 workers or more to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure their employees can work here legally. Over the next year, smaller employers will be phased in in two waves. The online system checks eligibility with the Social Security Administration and the Bureau of Citizen and Immigration Services.

Feds Approve Ga. Liquor Maker

Georgia's home-grown liquor industry is getting a new player. Officials at Milledgeville-based Georgia Distilling Company say, they now have federal and local permits and soon expect their state permit to begin operation. A company official says, the state permit follows the federal and local ones, so he's planning on opening in two months.

Tourists Spent $21B In 2010

State officials say domestic and international visitors to Georgia spent $21 billion in 2010. Officials with the U.S. Travel Association say that represents a jump of more than 8 percent in travel spending over the year before.

Regulators Mull Checks On Vogtle Costs

State utility regulators heard arguments Wednesday over a plan intended to protect consumers from potential cost over-runs of the nuclear expansion of Plant Vogtle. More than a dozen people went before the Public Service Commission to voice their concerns over the project itself.

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