Today marks the beginning of the 2012 session of the Alabama Legislature. A new session means opportunities and for Alabama, the opportunities are abundant. Legislators will have the opportunity to pass meaningful education reform in the form of charter schools. Basic principles of any market tell us that more competition leads to a higher quality across the board. And no one can deny Alabama schools could use some improvement.
Legislators will also have opportunities to help create jobs. I say “help” because the state shouldn’t create jobs, but it should get out of the way and let the private sector begin putting Alabamians to work. Legislators should remove obstacles to job creation and provide incentives for companies looking to locate or expand in our state. Several of these job creating measures are on the slate for the first week of the session including legislation giving economic development offices and the Governor more flexibility in offering tax incentives and a measure to allow the state to offer temporary state income tax incentives to offset build-up phase costs for companies bringing jobs to the state.
Last, but certainly not least, legislators will have the opportunity to stand strong on Alabama’s new immigration law. There are those who want to weaken the law who will use language like “tweaking” or “making it easier to enforce,” but legislators should tread carefully. While there are some legitimate fixes that need to be made, i.e.–adding military ID’s to the list of acceptable forms of identification, by and large, the law should be left as is. Keep an eye on our website for more information on this issue.
Alabama legislators appear poised to take advantage of some of these opportunities and they deserve our support. We just have to make sure they keep their eye on the ball and don’t get distracted by those who want to keep running Alabama in the same old way. After all, if we keep doing things the same way, we’ll keep getting the same result. They say opportunity only knocks once, so here’s to giving our legislators the fortitude to open the door.