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By: Bill Sisson, President & CEO, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
Lost in the middle of a divisive presidential election, are the 14 statewide amendments Alabama voters will be asked to vote on next week. Several key items on the ballot next Tuesday are important to the Mobile Area Chamber, and have the ability to impact our efforts to recruit and retain good paying jobs.
On Oct. 27, the Chamber’s board of directors passed a unanimous resolution of support for three YES votes on Amendments 8, 11 and 14; and a FOR vote on the Mobile County Pay-As-You-Go program. Below are brief overviews of each of these important ballot measures, and the rationale on why we are asking for your support. Please share this with your employees, family and friends, and ask them, too, to support these measures.
This is not to say the other amendments are not important, or do not impact the quality of life of residents in the Mobile area, the below ones have a direct impact on the Chamber’s mission: “To serve as a progressive advocate for business needs to promote the Mobile area’s economic well-being.”
AMENDMENT 8 – Right-to-Work
This amendment reinforces Alabama’s position as a right-to-work state in the state constitution. The right of employment, whether a member of a labor organization or not, has been Alabama law since 1958. The amendment would simply add it into the constitution.
AMENDMENT 11 – Enhancements to 21st Century Manufacturing Zones
This amendment will allow municipalities to sell land located in Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zones at prices below market value, creating the opportunity for further incentives for manufacturers locating in these zones. This proposed constitutional amendment would validate and confirm the Major 21st Century Manufacturing Zone Act enacted in 2013.
AMENDMENT 14 – Local Bills
The approval of this amendment will amend a legislative voting procedure and ensure the legality of more than 600 local laws passed in previous legislative sessions.
PAY-AS-YOU-GO Program – Mobile County
The Mobile Area Chamber encourages a FOR vote to approve the Mobile County Commission’s transportation pay-as-you-go program. Included in the proposal is more than $109.6 million in county and federal monies to widen existing roads, resurface existing streets, and bridge construction on projects spanning all three commission districts in Mobile County. The Alabama State Legislature mandates these projects be approved by a majority of voters, as they are paid for by a proportion of ad valoreum taxes currently collected in the county. To clarify, this is not a new and/or additional tax.