As the Alabama Legislature convenes in Montgomery this week for the 2012 session, the Business Council of Alabama is prepared to move forward in supporting legislation that will help existing industries hire, reduce regulatory burdens on business, and fundamentally reform education. Following approval of the 2012 BCA State Legislative Agenda by the board of directors last December, the BCA presented a clear message: Support policies that will boost private sector job growth and create a world-class education system.
“When existing businesses are successful and hire more people, the education trust fund grows, and we are able to provide more opportunities for our students,” said BCA President and CEO William J. Canary. “We must also support education policies that allow for new and innovative ways to teach our children. The status quo is no longer an option. Our children and teachers deserve better.”
Legislative leaders last November presented an ambitious job creation agenda that would allow the governor and the Alabama Development Office to use new incentives not only to recruit new companies to Alabama, but to continue to help those already doing business in the state. Another proposal, the Regulatory Reform Act, will require state agencies to prepare an economic impact analysis as well as a regulatory flexibility analysis before the adoption of any regulation that may adversely impact small businesses.
As businesses are the number one consumer of the product of education, the BCA will aggressively advocate for much needed education reforms. Providing local school districts with increased flexibility and giving parents more options to educate their children will be a top priority. The BCA will support initiatives to give parents more education options when a school is under-performing or operating in under-served areas of the state.
Since Alabama’s new immigration law was introduced in the 2011 legislative session, BCA has worked to lead the effort to clarify the law so that Alabama employers, who employ legal and documented workers, can fully comply without being overburdened with the bureaucratic process and without fear of unintentionally violating the law. In setting up an Alabama business roundtable, the BCA brought together business leaders from across the state to meet with legislative leaders to address any unnecessary penalties from those businesses that have always been committed to following the law.
“During the last legislative session, many pro-business items that have been a part of our legislative agenda for several years were enacted,” said Anita L. Archie, BCA senior vice president for intergovernmental affairs. “We are excited that Governor Bentley and the legislative leadership will keep the momentum this session by promoting job creation and education reform issues. BCA will continue to lead the effort in finding solutions to improve Alabama’s economy.”
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly one million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.