By Rep. Darrio Melton
Over the past 5 years, Alabama has invested millions to bring businesses to our state. We have sent representatives around the world to declare Alabama “open for business” to recruit top-tier corporations into Alabama.
But if there’s one thing any investor knows, it’s that uncertainty is bad for business.
In the past two weeks, our “family values” Governor has shocked the nation by his inappropriate comments to a female staffer, allegations of misuse of his office and state funds, and further rumors about the implications of the firings at ALEA.
For potential investors and business owners who are looking to move to Alabama, this is exactly the type of uncertainty that will send them screaming for the hills.
When businesses choose not to invest in Alabama, that doesn’t hurt the Governor or any other elected officials. It hurts the working families who depend on a better Alabama today than we had yesterday.
When businesses run from us, they run away with jobs in tow. Often, these are jobs for employees at all levels, from manufacturing to management, that would help bring our communities to full employment and produce an impact for years to come.
When businesses run, they also run away with a sizable economic impact. New businesses means construction, infrastructure, tax dollars, and more spending money in our communities. This brings about an overall economic impact on the community, even for those who aren’t directly employed.
Yet potential businesses are looking at Alabama with leery eyes, wondering what scandal will break next. They’re looking at competing offers with Governors who aren’t on “resignation watch” and betting the odds on other states. And can we blame them?
Our state government has proven itself to be self-serving, at best, and rampantly corrupt, at worst. Yet our people continue to remain good-hearted, God-fearing men and women who just want a better Alabama.
For the sake of our people, we can’t afford to lose economic development–especially in the Black Belt. I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again: it’s time for the circus to stop. Our government must put Alabama first or step aside and stop inhibiting good leaders from doing the jobs we were hired to do.
Rep. Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.