‘Too poor to be quiet’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 4, 2007

We applaud Alabama Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro. His recent comments in the legislature have been right on point. We are “too poor to be quiet.”

While the legislature has taken one more step toward bringing an extra $400 million to recruit industry, we’re side by side with Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, and Sen. Singleton screaming our plight.

It only makes sense to have top priority when it comes to selecting sites for new industries.

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The Black Belt counties continually rank at the top of the list among poverty indicators, such as unemployment and infant mortality. We’re also continually ranking at the bottom of the list of counties ranked by median household incomes.

The Alabama House and Senate unanimously approved measures allowing Gov. Bob Riley to borrow and spend money on recruiting new industry. While we know Riley has made some key announcements over the past few years in the Black Belt, it isn’t enough. What’s been doled out in the Black Belt is only a fraction of what more financially stable areas have received.

In this capitalistic society we also understand it is largely our responsibility to help ourselves. And we do. Most of the businesses in the Black Belt are family-owned, and most of those are undercapitalized. We need incentives for existing businesses in the Black Belt to expand and – in some cases – to continue to exist.

According to Singleton, we need more spec building funds and more, larger spec buildings in the Black Belt. We need funds for incentives to have interested industry executives take a look at us.

We’re not ungrateful, just “too poor to be quiet.”