Support Amendment 2Published 1:53am Saturday, October 27, 2012
By RICK CLIFTON
On Nov. 6, voters in Alabama will have an opportunity to pass a constitutional amendment which will maximize our economic development potential. Amendment Two will arm our state with the resources needed to recruit business, create jobs, and capitalize on the amazing economic development success stories we have enjoyed in the past 20 years. This amendment will play a key role in our economic recovery as people go back to work, earn a solid paycheck, and strengthen the state’s budgets.
We have all witnessed the enormous economic growth we have experienced since 1994 when we became more aggressive with economic development incentives. Since then, our state has landed four major automobile manufactures and some of the most influential aerospace firms in the world have chosen to make Alabama their home.
Our aggressive economic development recruitment philosophy has increased our tax base and provided additional revenue that supports, maintains and improves local infrastructure, such as roads, parks, libraries, and emergency medical services.
There is no question that Alabama is economically attractive. We have tremendous resources and a marvelous location. But, while Alabama is at the geographic heart of the United State’s fastest-growing region we need the help of Alabama’s voters on November 6 to ensure Alabama can continue to compete for high quality jobs.
Amendment Two does not raise taxes or increase the state’s debt. Amendment Two simply changes the language regarding the refinancing of bonds by allowing the state to take advantage of a recovering bond market to save a great deal of money. These savings can be used to recruit new industry and encourage existing industries to expand.
Since 2011, 26,000 new jobs have been created in Alabama, and our unemployment rate has been greatly reduced. Amendment Two will give Governor Bentley and our world class economic development professionals the tools they needs to create well-paying jobs by remaining competitive when recruiting companies to Alabama.
New industry will create new revenue for the state without raising taxes and without changing the $750 million bond limit established five years ago. More than ten years ago, Alabama’s taxpayers overwhelmingly approved an amendment allowing the state to issue bonds. Unfortunately, that amendment had a technical error in the language which now must be corrected so that we may free up this money.
Amendment Two will allow the state to re-issue bonds as the principal is paid down on existing bonds. This will free up approximately $130 million to be used to bring jobs to Alabama without any burden to the taxpayer. The bonds will be paid for by money from the Capital Improvement Trust Fund. Amendment Two allows Alabama to take advantage of an upturn in the bond market and a drop in interest rates to save money for the state of Alabama.
One of the wisest investments we can make is in economic development. Recruiting new industry and keeping the great companies that already call Alabama home will pay dividends for generations to come. Amendment Two allows Alabama to keep growing economically which strengthens our communities, schools, and businesses. Amendment Two will provide us with the tools we need to make Alabama an even better place to call home and raise our families.
Join me and the hundreds of other economic development professionals around the state in voting Yes on the second amendment Nov. 6.
Rick Clifton is president and CEO of the Covington County Economic Development Commission.