By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama economy has clearly entered into a 2014 rut after a strong post-recession recovery fueled largely by large manufacturing announcements including Airbus and a Mercedes expansion.
On Monday, September 15 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on announced a Statewide effort to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs and hopefully make Alabama’s recovery more robust. The Governor was joined by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Hubbard (R-from Auburn), Senate President Del Marsh (R-from Anniston) and other State leaders to announce the creation of the Alabama Small Business Commission.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said in a written statement, “Small businesses are the engines of job growth and an integral part of the framework that makes up the American economic system. Alabama’s continued economic progress depends on the prosperity of our small businesses. The creation of the Alabama Small Business Commission will encourage innovation, discuss issues critical to economic growth of small business and promote policies to assist new business start-ups and expansion of existing businesses.”
Speaker Hubbard said, “Small businesses are the backbone of not only the Alabama economy, but the economy of the United States. In Alabama, unlike at the federal level, our goal is to support small business owners and reduce their burden instead of adding more and more regulations and red tape to their plates. We believe that small businesses should be able to focus on their real job –growing the economy and creating jobs – and the Alabama Small Business Commission will help them do just that.”
Senate President Pro Tem Marsh said, “I applaud Governor Bentley for his vision in the creation of the Alabama Small Business Commission. It is imperative that we continue to support the growth of both new and existing small businesses, as they are the fabric of our overall economy. The legislature looks forward to working with Governor Bentley and the members of the commission to develop common sense legislation and policies that will make it easier for small businesses to thrive in Alabama.”
Alabama Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey said, “America has always been considered the land of opportunity where individuals can start and own a business from the ground up…In recent years, small businesses have been challenged by increasing costs and overreaching regulations. Alabama state leaders continue to fight for small business and protect their prosperity from negative policies handed down from the federal government. The Commission is another way we can serve our small businesses, which are key to the overall economic success of our State.”
The State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business Rosemary Elebash will chair the commission and advisory committee. Chair Elebash said,
“On behalf of Alabama’s small business owners, I wanted to thank Governor Bentley for recognizing the need to establish a Commission dedicated to helping independently owned and family businesses. The goal of the Commission will be to create a business environment that allows the creation of new businesses and the opportunity for existing businesses to expand. Commission members will be uniquely qualified to serve and represent Alabama’s small businesses in all 67 counties because many of them will have started a business on a shoestring and built a business successfully out of virtually nothing. Alabama’s small businesses have a special way of life because of their commitment to their local community, the dedication to their employees and to their passion for creating new jobs.”
Gov. Bentley created the new Commission by Executive Order 47. The Commission will be comprised of Alabama-based small and independent business owners who will each serve a two year term. The Governor will have the option of reappointing them for another two year term.
The Governor is defining a small business as 50 or less employees.
Governor Bentley also created the Alabama Small Business Advisory Committee to provide technical and informational resources to the Commission. The Governor’s statement said that the Commission will serve as an advisory body in formulating policies, encouraging innovation, and discussing issues critical to the economic growth of small businesses. The Commission will promote policies to assist new business start-ups and the expansion of existing businesses.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses create three out of four jobs. There are approximately 400,000 small businesses in Alabama. In 2011, over 5,000 jobs were created by small businesses.
The first meeting of the Alabama Small Business Commission will be in October and the commission will be required to present an annual report to the Governor at the end of each calendar year beginning December of 2015.