- Created on 20 March 2013
A global film studio has signed a memorandum of understanding to build a $90 million movie studio in Effingham County, Ga., that will create more than 1,200 jobs, according to published reports.
The Effingham County site borders Savannah, and according to the Savannah Morning News the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority on Tuesday unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Medient Studios Inc. to build the movie studio there.
Medient's chairman and CEO, Manu Kumaran, said he wants to revamp the film industry, creating full-time, permanent jobs.
The studio's campus will be built on the IDA's Interstate 16 property. Savannah News reports that it will be environmentally friendly, with no carbon-producing vehicles and with health care, day care and schooling for workers and their families.
Medient, which is a publically traded company, is a global film production and distribution company with a strong presence in India and North America.
This will be the company's first film studios, but Medient's previous titles include "Yellow," "Garp" and the horror/sci-fi film "Storage 24."
Effingham beat out New York and Pennsylvania for the project, and in Georgia, beat out Atlanta, according to Kumaran.
According to film database website IMDb, Kumaran is a second generation international film producer, who has produced 19 feature films in four languages. He is the oldest son of renowned Malayalam film director-producer KP Kumaran, and has been a part of the film business since he was young, working on all aspects of production and distribution.
Kumaran said Savannah's weather and lifestyle were big draws for his company.
The company's website says that its management team has more than 150 years of combined experience and has produced and/or financed more than 250 films. Its success has largely been a result of "aggressively optimizing the use of subsidy structures, tax benefits and other incentives to reduce the cost production costs, thereby increasing profit potential."
Georgia's movie tax credit was likely another attractive draw.
- Created on 19 March 2013
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Kelly’s Olympia Fields home was sold Monday to J.P. Morgan Chase, which already held the mortgage. Chase set the...
- Created on 18 March 2013
Atlanta-based, food chain Waffle House is slated to open its newest location in Centennial Olympic Park. Located at the corner of Andrew Young International Boulevard and Centennial Olympic Park Drive, the new location will be the chain's largest store. The restaurant will open on March 25 at 8am.
An opening ceremony celebration is scheduled to take place that day at 11 a.m. The first 100 guests will receive 10 dollars in Waffle House gift certificates.
According to Pat Warner, vice president of culture for Waffle House, the new location will include 43 seats inside as well as outdoor seats overlooking Centennial Park.
"This is a great location for us because of the millions of people who are down there each year who will be exposed to our brand," said Warner.
The restaurant will be known as Unit 1996, an ode to its location across from the Fountain of Rings and the Summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta that year.
The new location will be the chain's third downtown restaurant. There is an Underground Atlanta location and one on the Georgia State University campus.
A list of all Waffle House restaurants is available at www.wafflehouse.com.
- Created on 19 March 2013
As Black America continues to struggle with high unemployment rates, a new research report by Demos, a public policy organization titled, Discredited: How employment credit checks keep qualified workers out of a job, unveils how the use of credit history in employment decisions is often leaving people of color in the unemployment lines.
Among employers with fiduciary responsibilities, it is a long-standing practice to include credit reviews in hiring decisions. Banks, credit unions and similar employers should be careful in handling others’ money and deposits. But the Demos report found that employment credit checks now are becoming standard operating procedures for many employees without such responsibilities. In these instances, disproportionately screening people of color out of jobs can lead to discriminatory hiring.
With higher rates of unemployment and the additional burden of wealth disparities, many African-American and Latino households have a greater need to borrow for emergencies and are also at a greater risk for foreclosure or loan default.
Surveying nearly 1,000 low- and middle-income households with credit card debt, Demos found that people of color are disproportionately likely to report worse credit than Whites. Even for employed persons seeking a promotion at work, credit scores can be a factor in deciding which employee will get the better job.
Consumers surveyed shared that much of the debt going to collections agencies was for unexpected medical costs rather than for retail credit card usage. Households without health coverage were more than twice as likely to report that their credit score had declined in the past three years.
“It makes little sense to say that someone is not a good candidate for a job because they are still coping with the expense of a costly family medical emergency several years ago,” the report said. “Yet this may be exactly the type of situation that a blemished credit history indicates: having unpaid medical bills or medical debt is cited as one of the leading causes of bad credit among survey respondents.”
Amy Traub, the report’s author and a senior policy analyst at Demos, was even more frank. “This practice continues because it financially benefits the companies that market and sell this information to employers with little concern for the negative impact to the economic security of those with most at stake – low and middle-income Americans struggling to find work in a tough job market.”
This specific finding on medical debt mirrors another by the Federal Reserve Board. According to the Fed, 52 percent of all accounts reported by collection agencies consisted of medical debt.
These consistent findings on medical debt are also reflected in America’s disproportionate unemployment data. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to show that Black unemployment doubles that of Whites. From December 2012 through February 2013, White unemployment averaged 7 percent. By contrast, Black unemployment stood at 14 percent.
So what is a debt-burdened, unemployed consumer to do?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows employers to request credit reports on job applicants and existing employees. The statute also lays out specific steps under which these credit checks must occur. By law, employers must:
- First obtain written permission from the affected consumer before a credit review;
- Notify individuals before any adverse action is taken as a result of the credit review;
- Offer the employee or applicant a copy of the credit report, along with a written summary of his/her consumer’ rights; and
- Provide job applicants with a brief period of time to dispute any errors in their report.
Additionally, eight states have laws against employment discrimination involving applicants’ credit history: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont.
Currently three other states are now considering similar legislation: Colorado, Massachusetts and New York.
If your state lacks laws against this type of discrimination, contact your local legislator about passing such legislation.
- Created on 18 March 2013
March Madness Expected to Bring Atlanta $70 Million While US Businesses Lose $134 Million in Productivity
When the Final Four hits the Georgia Dome in April, the overall economic impact is expected to be around $70 million to the Atlanta area. That's the good news. For bosses and business owners around the country, though, there is some pretty serious bad news.
A new survey estimates that the NCAA's annual March Madness college basketball tournament will cost American businesses an estimated $134 million in lost productivity during the first two days of the tournament. That's $67 million a day.
The survey found that nearly one-third of workers spend at least three hours per day following the tournament during work hours.
The firm estimates that the cost March Madness American comes to American companies in the form of "lost wages" over the first two days of the Tournament, as an estimated 3.0 million employees spend one to three hours following the basketball games instead of working.
Despite the seemingly large number John Challenger, chief executive officer at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, downplayed the loss, saying that government policies will have a much bigger impact on the economy in the coming days.
"At the end of the day, March Madness will not even register as a blip in the overall economy. Sequestration is going to have a far bigger impact," said Challenger in a news release. "Will March Madness even have an effect on a company's bottom line? Not at all."
Challenger did warn, though, that it will be a trying time for managers and supervisors concerned with workplace efficiency.
"Starting the day after selection Sunday, people will be organizing office pools, researching teams and planning viewing parties," he said. "When the games begin around noon, eastern time, on Thursday, many companies will probably notice a significant drop in Internet speeds, as employees start streaming games and clogging up the network's bandwidth."
A survey just released by MSN and Impulse Research found that 66 percent of workers will be following March Madness during work hours, with 20 percent expecting to spend one to two hours following games, 14 percent spending three to four hours, and 16 percent saying they will spend five hours or more watching games instead of working.
Fortunately for businesses in the city of Atlanta and the metro area, that money will likely be funneling right back to them in April. The Final Four tournament weekend (April 6-8) at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta is expected to bring 100,000 out-of-town guests, who will book an estimated 10,000 hotel rooms for an overall economic impact estimated at $70 million.