November 8, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Jobs, Economy Remain Gov. Bentley's Main Focus

November 07, 2011, 5:46 PM

BIRMINGHAM -- Gov. Robert Bentley said the economy and job growth remain his top priorities and economic development projects on the horizon along with those already announced could give the state a total of 10,000 new or future jobs this year.

Bentley spoke at the annual Birmingham Business Alliance luncheon today where he touched on a number of hot-button issues along with the less polarizing need to improve the economy and create jobs.

"Creating jobs is the No. 1 issue we need to face every day," Bentley said.

Bentley pointed to his creation of the Alabama Economic Development Alliance as one key in that process. The Alliance joins the forces of the Alabama Development Office, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, local economic developers, the state's research universities, the two-year college system and worker training program and certain major corporations. They are developing a statewide economic development plan they will begin implementing in early 2012.

In Birmingham, the key will be UAB, he said, as its research and science become commercialized and are turned into companies that create jobs. It will also help attract new professionals and industry to the area, he said.

Brian Hilson, chief executive of the BBA, said Bentley has become an ally in the recruitment and expansion of industry.

"Creating jobs for Alabamians is his top priority and that fits in precisely with what we do at BBA," he said. "His remarks connect very well with an audience of business leaders who are equally concerned about this topic."

Hilson said Bentley and his staff have taken an active role in helping BBA with a number of ongoing recruitment projects considering the metro area for new projects.

"He's already developed a reputation as being what many of us would label an 'economic development governor,'" Hilson said, because of the emphasis he has given business recruitment, expansion and job creation.

The 679 in attendance was a record for a sit-down luncheon the BBA has hosted with a sitting governor. The event was held at The Club.

Bentley said he is considering a constitutional amendment that would allow companies that create new jobs in the state through new operations or expansions to keep a portion of the state income taxes for each new job as a way of recovering the amount of its investment.

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