Vote yes’ on Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 4, 2007

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide on two amendments to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. While both amendments are really a matter of housekeeping for state officials, citizens should not underestimate their importance and the long lasting affect they can have on the business climate in our state.

Amendment One would increase the amount the state can raise through bonds to $750 million. This provides the opportunity for the state to lure business to our area through incentive packages.

Amendment Two will establish a trust fund to cover Alabama’s $20 billion unfunded liability for state employee health benefits, which will help ensure that Alabama maintains a high bond rating.

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The money raised through the bond issue will be used to aid the $811 million incentive package for German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG.

Bringing this business to the state will drive income for local, small businesses through increased wealth that will come from the payroll produced through these jobs, and the many other jobs that will be created during the construction and employment phases.

Other industry will locate near the facility to support it, creating more jobs and it will have a ripple effect, just as the automotive industry in the state has.

A vote for the amendments will send a positive message to other investors thinking about bringing their business to Alabama, that Alabamians want investors here just as much as their elected officials do. Voting &8220;no&8221; on the amendments will send the wrong message, a message that might deter other corporate investors from considering Alabama as a destination for their companies and jobs.

When the Legislature voted to place the amendments on the ballot in a special session earlier this year, it sent a positive message to Thyssen-Krupp executives that Alabama badly wanted their business and was willing to compete for the steel mill. Now it’s time for all Alabamians to do their part to reciprocate the commitment Thyssen-Krupp has made to Alabama, by going to the polls on June 5 and voting &8220;yes.&8221;