100 jobs related to cancer research coming to Augusta area

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ATLANTA — Legislators are so certain that Augusta will get 100 jobs related to cancer research that they voted unanimously Wednesday to add $5 million to the current year’s state budget to pave the way.

“It’s a fast-moving economic-development project for Augusta University that will mean 100 jobs,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill, R-Reidsville.

He said he didn’t have any additional details and was merely complying with a request that will lead to jobs.

The Senate agreed to the change made by the House of Representatives on instruction from the governor’s office. The House voted unanimously for the revisions Tuesday without detailed discussion about the AU provisions.

The budget still must be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal.

An official with the Cancer Center clarified that the money would be going to the university and not directly to the center. Walter Sprouse, executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority, said it was the authority’s policy not to comment on potential projects.

The only other major change to the budget is the addition of $70 million to be split between Morehouse Medical School and Mercer University to boost enrollment with the eventual goal of getting more doctors into rural communities. The funds come from the federal government’s repayment of Medicaid reimbursements that the state recently recovered in a successful lawsuit.

Some observers have grumbled that at least part of that money should have gone to AU’s ongoing efforts to develop more positions at hospitals around the state for recent physician graduates to gain clinical experience.

Staff writer Tom Corwin contributed to this article.

By Walter C. Jones Fri, May 06, 2016 @ 7:00 am