There is increasing frustration at the state's well-deserved reputation for being generous with large corporations and stingy with the people. Channeling that frustration into a vote against Amendment 2 would be a mistake.
Under existing state law, the state can issue up to $750 million in bonds to finance incentives for companies locating or expanding plants in Alabama.
Amendment 2 does not change the amount of the cap, but the way it is calculated. As the state pays off bonds, Amendment 2 would allow it to borrow more. This would provide immediate flexibility in attracting industry: the incentive program has issued $720 million in bonds. If the amendment passes, the state could borrow up to $160 million for incentives, rather than $30 million.
The difference is significant. The state landed Airbus and its planned 1,000 jobs with a $153 million incentive package. Locally, state incentives were critical in attracting Polyplex, AlphaPET and Carpenter Technology.
Amendment 2 does not take money from the Education Trust Fund. Alabama did not create the interstate competition enjoyed by expanding corporations, but it must participate if it hopes to improve the prospects of Alabama workers.
If carefully administered, incentives benefit all Alabamians by attracting more and better jobs and by increasing tax revenue.
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