On Tuesday, Alabama voters can make sure that we are prepared to compete for every industry, business and job we pursue. If passed, Amendment 2 will allow us to build on our success in bringing higher-paying jobs to Alabama. Voting yes for this amendment will ensure that our state has important financial tools available to remain competitive with other states.
Since 2011, we have announced the creation of more than 26,000 new jobs that will be added to our economy. That includes anticipated jobs at major employers such as Airbus, Hyundai and Honda as well as thousands of jobs across the state that don’t make the headlines — such as 87 new jobs in Calhoun County and 60 more in Elmore County thanks to new high-tech automotive supply manufacturers, 850 jobs in Saraland at a supply chain management company and 80 jobs at a building materials company in Selma, just to name a few.
But make no mistake about it — our economic development success is no accident. We have some of the top economic development professionals in America working right here in Alabama. We have great leadership from Gov. Robert Bentley and great teamwork happening between local economic-development teams, education officials, workforce-development officials and the Department of Commerce.
Alabama is headed in the right direction, but we have to do even more so that our economic-development team can recruit more industry and put more Alabamians back to work. We must not rest on our laurels or attempt to compete for new jobs without availing ourselves of every competitive tool.
Amendment 2 does not raise taxes or allow us to raise debt above the existing ceiling. It simply corrects an omission in the language of an amendment passed five years ago, allowing the state to refinance existing bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates. The savings can be used to recruit new industry and encourage existing industries to expand in the state, which will create more jobs for Alabamians.
A small investment made today can create new higher wage jobs and provide Alabama families a more secure future. If we are going to continue to change our challenging economic conditions for the better and create an environment for winning the competition for jobs, we must be willing to do the things that can make a difference. Passing Amendment 2 represents an important investment in our future.
Greg Canfield is secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.