â€œPutting Alabamians Back to Workâ€? Enterprise - Entrepreneurship - Investment
Released December 7, 2009
Table of Contents I. Table of Contents………………………………………………………………………………... 2 II. Meet Dr. Robert J. Bentley…………………………………………………………………… 3 III. A Word from Dr. Bentley……………………………………………………………………. 4 IV. Creating a Robust Environment for Business……………………………………….. 5 a. Maintaining Alabama’s Status as a “Right to Work” State……..………….. 7 b. Keeping the Cost of Business Low………………………………………….……... 10 i. Keeping Taxes Low……………………….…………………………………... 11 ii. Keeping the Cost of Energy Low……………………….………………... 12 iii. Incentives for New and Existing Businesses……………………….. 13 iv. Incentives to Hire Unemployed Workers……………………………. 14 c. Maintaining a High Quality of Life………………………………………………… 15 i. Affordable and Accessible Health Care……………………………….. 17 ii. Quality Education for Alabamians……………………………………… 20 iii. Increasing the Number of Well-Trained Workers……………….. 23 iv. Supporting Our Soldiers……………………………………………………. 24 v. Travel and Tourism…………………………………………………………... 25 d. Industry and Population Specific Infrastructure……………………………. 26 V. Innovative Ideas for Alabama’s Businesses………………………………………… 30 a. Office of Small Business Creation and Development……………………… 31 b. Domestic and International Recruitment……………………………………… 32 VI. Illegal Immigration in Alabama…………………………………………………………. 34 VII. Appendix………………………………………………………………………………………….. 39
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Meet Dr. Robert J. Bentley Representative Robert Julian Bentley, M.D. is a native of Columbiana in Shelby County. Robert enrolled at the University of Alabama where he majored in Chemistry and Biology and later studied at the UA School of Medicine. In 1969, Robert joined the Air Force where he was commissioned as a captain and served as a general medical officer. He is a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America and the American Legion. Dr. Bentley is a founding partner of Alabama Dermatology Associates. This business has become the largest dermatology practice in the Southeast. He was also selected by his peers as one of the “Best Doctors in America.” In 2002, Dr. Bentley was elected to the Alabama State House of Representatives District 63, (Tuscaloosa County) with almost 65% of the vote. In 2006, he ran unopposed for reelection. In Montgomery, he has served on the Education Appropriations Committees where he worked with other members to write and re-write a balanced budget with limited resources, the Boards and Commissions Committee, the Agriculture & Forestry Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee. In 2008, he was elected as a Republican Presidential Delegate for Governor Mike Huckabee and represented Alabama on the Republican Platform Committee. Robert is married to the former Dianne Jones of Montgomery. They have four sons, John Mark (Wife – Amy), Paul (Wife – Melissa), Luke, and Matthew (Wife – Katy) and five granddaughters, Anna Claire, Mary Boyd, Katie, Taylor, and Caroline. Dr. Bentley is an active member of First Baptist Church Tuscaloosa where he serves as a Deacon and Sunday school teacher.
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December 7, 2009 Dear Fellow Alabamian, In 2010, we will have crucial decisions to make and the effects of our decisions will have long-lasting consequences. It will be essential to our future to choose a leader who has proven himself to be steadfast in principle, practical in reason, and professional in his or her background. Among leaders in Alabama, there is a definite consensus on the need to act on job creation, but as Governor I will bring consensus around the plan of action outlined in my proposal. As Governor of Alabama, my goal is to create an environment for businesses and industry to thrive and prosper. To that effort, my aim is stimulate the creation of 250,000 new jobs and bring our state back to a level of full employment for current and future members of the workforce. These jobs will come from workers who are currently unemployed, those who have never held employment, those seeking new jobs, and others who are seeking to start new businesses. While serving in Montgomery, I have had a proven track record of building bipartisan agreements with the best interests of Alabama in mind. With your support, I will continue this trend as Governor. Sincerely,
Representative Robert J. Bentley, M.D. Republican Candidate for Governor
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business The short term and long term economic goals set by Alabama’s next Governor will affect our state’s business climate for many generations to come. It is our obligation to these generations to act responsibility in addressing our current economic situation. According to the New York Times, “In all, more than one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.” If elected Governor of Alabama, stimulating economic growth and job creation for our citizens will be the focal point of my administration. The job of any government is not to directly create jobs, but to provide an environment for healthy and sustainable growth in business and industry. My goal as Governor is to stimulate the creation of 250,000 new jobs in Alabama. As Governor, I will work hand-in-hand with our state and local leaders, as well as interested citizens to create a robust environment in which business and industry can grow and succeed. I will also coordinate the State’s efforts with those of our Congressional delegation, as appropriate, to ensure that Alabama receives at least $1 back from the federal government for every dollar that our citizens pay in taxes of all kinds. This type of environment for “Putting Alabamians Back to Work” includes: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h.
Retaining Alabama’s status as a “Right to Work” State Keeping the Cost of Business Low Preserving Affordable and Accessible Health Care Increasing the Number of Well-Trained Workers Maintaining Industry and Population Specific Infrastructure Encouraging Improvement in Alabama’s Quality of Life Providing Incentives for New and Existing Businesses Deterring Illegal Immigration in Alabama
As Governor, I will accept the challenge of moving Alabama forward with more jobs and better opportunities for all of our citizens.
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business Maintaining Alabama’s Status as a “Right to Work” State
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Maintaining Alabama’s Status as a “Right to Work” State The first way to create an atmosphere that will stimulate the creation of jobs for Alabamians is to keep Alabama a “Right to Work” state. As a legislator in Montgomery, I have always been a supporter of Tuscaloosa’s working class labor force. Historically, many of my patients have worked at the local BFGoodrich tire plant and belong to the Local 351 United Steelworkers union. I believe the voluntary organization of unions and collective bargaining can be an important component too in ensuring a fair treatment by management. However, this must remain a voluntary decision and must not become a requirement to obtain a job. The part of Alabama’s Code titled, “Freedom to Join or Refrain from Joining Labor Organizations,” (Section (§) 25-7-6) gets it exactly right: “Every person shall be free to join or to refrain from joining any labor organization, except as otherwise provided in Section 25-7-13, and, in the exercise of such freedom, shall be free from interference by force, coercion or intimidation, by threats of force or coercion or by the intimidation of, or injury to his family.” Alabama’s “Right to Work” status is an advantage in recruiting potential industry to settle in our state. The rejection of forced unionization is one of the primary reasons many domestic and international companies, such as Mercedes of Tuscaloosa or Honda of Lincoln, are choosing to relocate and make Alabama their new home for manufacturing. Less than half of all states in the United States are “Right to Work “ states. In fact, Alabama is only 1 of the 22 remaining “Right to Work” states across America. As Governor of Alabama, I will keep Alabama a “Right to Work” state. I will also work with my like-minded colleagues in other states to maintain the status of the Southeastern United States as a “Right to Work” manufacturing corridor. We must protect the workers secret ballots’ in any vote to unionize in order to prevent the use of strong-arm intimidation tactics on honest, hardworking laborers who want to preserve their independence. Open votes (non-secret ballots) to create unions in Alabama create an unacceptable coercive environment that produces intimidation and impedes the expression free will by the people of Alabama. I believe the root of Detroit, Michigan’s 15.3% unemployment rate began with that state government’s mandatory unionization of its civilian workers. This is not limited to Michigan. Mandatory unionization of other historically manufacturing states Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 8
caused these states to experience the same high unemployment for the same reason. Due to basic economic realities, industries in those states fled to other states and nations due to companies’ inability to keep up with the demands unions forced upon them. Citing the Labor Department, CNN reported, “Michigan became the first state in 25 years to suffer an unemployment rate exceeding 15%.” It would be disheartening to see Alabama’s manufacturing base fall prey to the same poor policy decisions which have ruined Michigan and other states with mandatory unionization As the Chief Ambassador for economic recruitment, I will invite industries forced from their original manufacturing homes by obligatory unionization to relocate to Alabama. Our state’s low manufacturing costs make it a better option for relocation than other states or foreign nations. However, Alabama would become much less competitive for these jobs. Expanding Alabama’s tax base by recruiting domestic and international business will solve many of Alabama’s budgetary problems without increasing taxes. This begins by maintaining and defending Alabama’s status a “Right to Work” state.
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business Keeping the Cost of Business Low
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Keep the Cost of Business Low The second step in creating an environment that stimulates economic growth in Alabama is to keep the cost of doing business low. As a small business owner for 34 years, I understand the frustrations of the day-to-day operations of a corporation. Paying taxes, making payroll, and management of employees are struggles I and every small business owner have to face every day that they are in operation. However, small business owners should not have to constantly worry over the everincreasing cost of business placed on citizens by state government. Uncertainty over government decisions that affect business revenue is one reason businesses are slow to higher during times of economic difficulty. Alabama officials can reduce some business uncertainty simply by retaining low property tax rates. As a legislator, I introduced an amendment to address this problem by overturning the annual property tax evaluations in favor of evaluations taking place every four years. I am the only candidate in the race to be Alabamaâ€™s next Governor who has been able to have this issue voted on. It was defeated by one vote. Additionally, high taxes result in businesses pushing the increased costs forward on to consumers, reducing their ability to purchase goods and services which grow the economy. As Governor, my solution would be to support low taxes at every level of government, while continuing to push for my change in the property tax evaluation process.
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Keeping the Cost of Energy Low Energy is the lifeblood of the modern economy. Keeping energy costs in Alabama low will maintain our states low manufacturing and other business costs, and provide additional certainty for businesses as they plan how to grow. As Governor, I will build a bipartisan consensus on the issue of decreasing energy costs for all Alabamians. The American Clean Energy and Security Act, as passed by the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will effectively serve as a death sentence for economic expansion in Alabama and in the South as a whole. “Cap and Trade” sets a dangerous precedent by putting Americans at a competitive disadvantage, creates a hidden tax, and will result in eliminating and taking jobs away from Alabamians working in the Gulf Coast or in the coal industry. In recent years many southern states, including Alabama, have been able to attract quality businesses that provide stable, well-paying jobs. Much of this success has been because of the availability of reliable and affordable power sources. If this bill, offered under the pretenses of protecting the environment, passes the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate to become law, there is no doubt that the economies of Alabama, and the rest of the South, will suffer even more than they already have. Alabama’s environment is important, and we should seek to protect it for the benefit of children and grandchildren for years to come. However, we must ensure that protecting our environment never becomes a shield for political maneuvering intended to advance hidden agendas. “Cap and Trade” is nothing more than an attempt by the most liberal, Democratic members of Congress to force questionable standards on businesses, which will in turn create a certain and drastic increase in energy costs for businesses and consumers. The worst policy options to pursue during economic declines are those which raise operating costs for those organizations that keep people employed. As a small business owner, I know what it is like to have families depending on me each week for a paycheck. I also understand how difficult it is to hire new workers when a business’s expenses and taxes continue to rise. This bill will no doubt make it harder for existing businesses to thrive and for new businesses to be created. Almost 250,000 people in Alabama do not have a job. Most want one, but simply cannot find any work. If this bill is allowed to pass, that staggering number will surely increase. The breadth and depth of Alabama’s energy resource portfolio gives our state no excuse when choosing to keep the cost of energy at a reasonable level. Alabama must utilize its broad energy portfolio of such resources as hydroelectricity, coal-bed
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methane, nuclear energy, deep-well natural gas, biomass, and the expansion of the clean coal industry. As Governor, I will work to seek a bipartisan consensus to keep the costs of business low in Alabama, especially by attending to the needs of taxes and energy.
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Incentives for New and Existing Businesses Alabamaâ€™s state government should not punish existing small business owners. If an existing business wishes to expand and hire new workers, Alabama should abate â€œsales and use taxesâ€? related to workforce expansion or productivity gains. It is a sad fact, but many new businesses do fail in the first year of their existence. The failure of businesses can be attributed to the mismanagement of company employees or even an insufficient amount of capital to keep the company up and running. But other times, new and existing businesses fail because of the lack of cooperation with their state and local governments. As Governor, I will work to the best of my ability to support the business community in Alabama to create jobs. When possible, the state should provide logistical and financial incentives for new companies who wish to relocate to Alabama. Offices such as the Alabama Development Office have done a phenomenal job advocating for future expansion across our state. As Governor, I plan to be a vocal leader for Alabamians as we compete for the arrival of new businesses and industries. Additionally, I will ensure existing businesses receive the same opportunities and encouragement to succeed. Jobs within Alabama are exceptionally important and should not be forgotten. Business taxes support our education system and the future of our state. As Governor, I plan to support incentives for new and existing businesses which expand or re-hire employees, in addition to broadening the business tax base through recruiting new businesses to the state.
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Stimulating Growth with Incentives to Hire Unemployed Workers According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alabama faces approximately 11% unemployment, or roughly 250,000 workers without a job. At no other time in the history of the State of Alabama has it been more critical to get our people back to work. On December 7, 2009, I pre-filed a bill that has the potential to transform the unemployment situation in Alabama. The title of the bill is “The Reemployment Act of 2010.” Its’ fundamental premise is to stimulate job growth in Alabama by giving tax deductions to businesses for hiring those currently on the unemployment rolls or those whose benefits have expired. The main objective of the program is to enable citizens to move from economic dependency to self-sufficiency. As they earn an income and become contributing taxpayers, participating employers are able to reduce their state income tax liability. The precedent for the bill originates with the United States Congress and the “Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)”. It provided an opportunity for private sector businesses to reduce their federal income tax liability for hiring individuals from a broad range of categories of jobless workers who have faced significant barriers to employment. According to the State Department of Industrial Relations, there were 4,640 certificates issued for employees hired in Alabama that qualified for this credit in 2008. The Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) conducted an analysis of the potential net fiscal impact of establishing the “Reemployment Act of 2010.” The LFO analysis set parameters for the implementation of the bill: 1) Companies must hire workers who are now drawing unemployment benefits or have benefits that are expired. These records must be verified by unemployment records. 2) The individual must remain as an employee for 12 months. 3) Company may deduct 50% of the annual salary from their state income tax. Salary may be calculated over any consecutive 12 month period of employment 4) The employee’s salary amount will be calculated from W-2 Form 5) One-time deduction for corporations *Note: The Alabama Reemployment Act of 2010 passed unanimously February 2010.
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The entire numerical and extended analysis from the Legislative Fiscal Office can be found in the Appendix beginning on page 42.
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business IMPROVING ALABAMAâ€™S QUALITY OF LIFE
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IMPROVING ALABAMA’S QUALITY OF LIFE The third step toward creating a robust business environment is to maintain a high quality of life for Alabamians. The general well being of Alabama’s citizens is of paramount importance when considering that, as a state, we are facing nearly 11% unemployment and 16.6% of Alabamians are classified as living under the poverty line, both of which are above the national average. According to the Associated Press, “The 10.9 percent unemployment rate matches the figure last reached in February 1984 when Alabama was struggling in another deep national recession. It also comes just two years after hitting a record low of 3.1 percent for October of 2007.” In a study released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has surpassed 10% in least 49 of Alabama’s 67 counties. The same report noted that Wilcox County had the highest unemployment in the state with a staggering 25.6% unemployment. As Governor, the goals of my administration will be to address the quality of life for Alabamians in the following ways:
Preserving Affordable and Accessible Health Care Quality Education Increasing the Number of Well Trained Workers Supporting the needs of our Soldiers Travel and Tourism
Quality of life issues are directly related to issues dealing with the economy. The funding of our education system consists primarily of sales and income taxes. If Alabamians have no jobs or are surviving under the poverty line, then they are not producing income sufficient enough to meet the modern needs of our education system. As Governor, if the citizens of Alabama do not have jobs that produce an income, then balancing our state budget is going to require a person who has experience with fiscal discipline in the real world of business, someone willing to make tough decisions coupled with the knowledge of the inner workings of Alabama’s state government.
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Preserving Affordable and Accessible Health Care The next step when supporting an environment for robust economic growth is the preservation of affordable and accessible healthcare for Alabamians. One predicament associated with the cost of doing business is the issue of providing healthcare for employees. Although business owners are not obligated to care for their employees, many feel morally compelled to do so. Employers should be encouraged to maximize the utilization of Health Savings Accounts, which will be less expensive and will increase less rapidly in cost. If employers in Alabama provide health care for their employees, those businesses should be granted additional tax incentives beyond what is currently available. As Governor, I will always encourage the creation of state health insurance exchanges to foster competition and lower cost. Special emphasis will be given to companies that will write high deductible insurance policies at a reasonable cost to link-up with health savings accounts. As a physician running for Governor, I am in a unique position to understand the healthcare issue and to work to protect Alabama from unwarranted and unnecessary intrusions into our personal healthcare choices. I have already started laying the groundwork for Alabama's rejection of the federal takeover of healthcare by offering real-world solutions that can be enacted without bankrupting our nation or pushing us closer toward the ultra-liberal goal of a single payer system. On October 13, 2009, I pre-filed a Constitutional Amendment that will prohibit any person, employer, or healthcare provider from being compelled to participate in any healthcare system. By codifying Alabama's 10th Amendment rights on this issue, we will be taking the first step toward protecting Alabama's citizens from Government run medicine. As Governor, I will work with other conservative Governors to encourage federal passage of provisions that would drive down prices by increasing competition while working within a market-based framework. Those provisions include: A. Portability of Insurance Across State Lines. There is no valid reason why Alabamians should be prohibited from purchasing health insurance from companies in other States. By allowing the people of this State to have access to all of the Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 19
country's health insurance companies, competition would drastically increase and, as a result, health insurance premiums would decrease. B. Tax Deductibility for the Self-Employed. If you are self-employed or you work for a small business that does not provide health benefits, you should be allowed to fully deduct the cost of health insurance from your State and Federal Income Taxes. C. Meaningful Tort Reform. As a physician, I can attest to the fact that the practice of defensive medicine is a main factor in the rising costs of medical treatment in this country. In order to make any impact on the costs of healthcare, we must pass meaningful tort reform legislation. D. Change Medicaid Awards. Currently, Medicaid is awarded to the States on a match basis. This should be changed immediately. By awarding Medicaid on a needs basis, the States with the most need would receive the most funds. For example, if Alabama has 5% of the nation's impoverished individuals, Alabama should receive 5% of the money. E. Medicare Payments to Medical Professionals. If we increase payments to federal programs, those monies should be placed into Medicare to increase payments to hospitals and primary care physicians. 3. In addition to federal provisions, there are solutions that we can enact in Alabama that would increase the affordability of health care without the need to raise taxes or borrow from future generations: A. Establish Statewide Insurance Exchanges. By setting up an insurance exchange encouraging more companies to write health insurance in Alabama, competition would increase which would drive down costs. B. Tax Incentives. We must encourage health insurance companies from all over the country to write policies in Alabama. By offering tax incentives to companies that offer health insurance to Alabamians, more companies would do business in our state and accessibility would increase. C. Health Savings Accounts. Establishing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) would add the much-needed consumer element to medicine. Much like an IRA, HSAs allow individuals to contribute pre-tax finds into an account explicitly for the payment of medical costs. Pairing these accounts with high deductable insurance policies would save Alabamians millions of dollars. D. Tax Deductions. If you pay your own insurance premiums, those costs should be 100% deductable on your State Income Taxes. Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 20
E. Electronic Medical Records. We should immediately adopt a statewide interconnected electronic medical records system tailored for each specialty and protected by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). F. Individual Ownership of Medical Records. Each patient should be allowed to own their own medical records and keep them with them at all times on a portable, keychain-sized flash drive. This would allow quick, accurate sharing of information between a patient's doctors and would decrease the need for repetitive testing. G. Prescription Transfers. By encouraging the electronic transfer of prescriptions from the physician to the pharmacist, errors and prescription abuse could be drastically reduced. H. Tax credits for Indigent Care. There are many doctors who treat indigent patients for no pay. Tax credits should be given to these healthcare providers and special emphasis should be given to doctors who are required to treat the uninsured as a result of inclusion on a hospital staff. I. Mandate cost savings education. All medical students should receive special training regarding healthcare cost savings during the 4th year of medical school and during their residencies. J. More primary care physicians. The Federal takeover of healthcare will drive good doctors away from the practice of medicine. That is the exact opposite of what we need in Alabama and across the United States. We should be encouraging the training of more primary care physicians, not less. To accomplish this goal, we should require that 25% of seats in Alabama's medical schools be dedicated as primary care seats for students who want to enter family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB-GYN, or general surgery. Furthermore, we should award $40,000 a year scholarships to each of those students. Upon completion of their medical training, those students would be required to provide full-time medical service in an area of need in Alabama for a period of 4 years. This will produce an additional 60 primary care physicians a year. Because we need at least 100 doctors per year, an additional 40 primary care doctors will be trained through the Alabama Medical Education Consortium program. This program will be known as the Alabama Health Service Corps. Similar programs will also be established for nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, and other ancillary health care providers.
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By having a physician in the Governor's Office, we will have a knowledgeable and committed conservative voice to ensure that Alabama will fight the federal takeover of healthcare. K. Freedom In Policy Writing – Alabama should allow health insurance companies to write “bare bones” policies that do not require the inclusions of certain services. People should be allowed to opt-out of certain areas of medicine they do not wish to have covered.
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Quality Education for Alabamians The funding for education in Alabama is tied directly to our workforce. The majority of the Education Appropriations Trust Fund budget is directly funded by income and sales taxes. In Alabama, jobs create workers. Workers pay taxes. Those taxes cover the cost education for our children and grandchildren. Given Alabama’s economic downturn, high unemployment, and the fact that education funding is so directly related to jobs, we now have a deficiency in the state Education Appropriations Trust Fund. After the 2010 budget, the State of Alabama will no longer have federal stimulus dollars to assist budget deficiencies. If the economy does not drastically improve, difficult decisions will have to be made by the Governor and the Legislature in order to fund education. For the past eight years, have served on the House Education Appropriations Committee, working to write and re-write balanced budgets, so I understand the unique challenges we face. As Governor, I will strive to turn around Alabama’s economic and education situation. In order for Alabama to get back on track, there are five educational reforms that must take place, as quickly as possible. Alabama must: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Improve the budget Reign in the cost of healthcare and education Eliminate wasteful programs Make local school systems a priority Modify the management of our students
First, Alabama must budget differently. After studying the intricacies of the budgeting process, I believe we have gone in the wrong direction. A more efficient and effective way to plan the state’s educational finances is called the “15 Year Rolling Average” budget method. This technique develops the following year’s budget by multiplying the present year’s budget by the average increase or decrease over the last 15 years. If Alabama had adopted this method 15 years ago, it is highly unlikely that our educational system would be facing proration. The second educational reform initiative concerns healthcare. Alabama must get healthcare costs under control. Of the $5.4 billion Education Appropriations Trust Fund Budget, $1 billion is needed to cover healthcare, and this figure increases at a rate of approximately 8% per year. Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 23
Last year, Michigan offered their teachers Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and saved $194 million. If Alabama did this, we could save over $100 million. HSAs increase cost less than 1% per year. I believe this is a necessary step that will put consumerism back into health care. Before the budget is even written, 87% of the Education Appropriations resources are committed. I propose to have the Education Appropriations Committee review the remaining 13%. Unnecessary and wasteful programs should be removed from the budget. Third, all un-earmarked agencies of the state government who receive education appropriations dollars should be required to come before the Education Appropriations Committee and demonstrate positive results. The fourth educational reform is to give local school boards more control and allow more flexibility in priority spending. For instance, there is no need to micro-manage the purchase of textbooks and school buses the way we do now. Regarding the purchase of new textbooks every five years, consideration should be given to delay the purchase of math, literature, language, English, and other books that do not require frequent modification. Perfectly good textbooks are too valuable to be wasted. In addition, purchasing textbooks online should decrease expenditures as well. With regard to the purchase of school buses, the safety of children is of the utmost importance. However, common sense holds that properly maintained buses should last longer than ten years. We know Alabamaâ€™s schools are in trouble. As Governor, I will work to fix the education system through systematic order and accountability It will take a true Conservative like myself to write and re-write the Education Appropriations Trust Fund budget in order to maintain balance. The fifth educational reform involves the management of our students. Many citizens are pushing for vouchers and charter schools. As Governor, I would consider a pilot program for limited incorporation of vouchers and charter schools. I support limited testing because what is good for one part of Alabama may not work as well in another area. In some states, vouchers and charter schools have been successful; however, in some others they have not worked well for the community. Keep in mind that a pilot Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 24
program for charter schools must be realistic, and any plan must incorporate even the most difficult children. I believe the management of children must also have a consumer-based approach. As Governor, I will work to implement school-wide, performance-based incentives for faculty and staff where schools are meeting and exceeding high standards of learning. From the janitor to the principal, an entire school must pull-together and compete for excellence. My administration will work to implement a quality childhood education system that will produce well-trained and highly skilled workers.
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Increasing the Number of “Well-Trained” Workers The future opportunities and expectations for Alabama’s education system and economic development are hinged upon each other. Therefore, another means of stimulating job creation and attracting industry to Alabama is to maintain a well trained, industry-specific workforce. A well-trained workforce operating in an environment that keeps the cost of doing business low is an enticement for new and existing industries who wish to expand or relocate. Alabama must support workforce development and updated technical training in both high schools and our two-year college system. As Governor, I pledge to continue supporting workforce development and updated technical training. Alabama should also allow students to choose career paths during their high school years. Schools should be working together with the technical portions of their curriculum and the two-year systems to create a “Skilled Jobs Program.” This can be accomplished by relaxing the “4-by-4” system to allow students to be prepared to enter the workforce once leaving high school. Local schools also should have the freedom to work directly with local businesses and industry so the training will fill specific workforce needs in the community. For example, if Boaz High School teamed-up with Snead State Community College and an industry such as TS Tech to improve the development of a local workforce, Marshall County in general would be better off with new workers who may have had few other opportunities when leaving high school. Alabama’s colleges and universities must also be dedicated to producing highly trained students in science, technology, engineering, business, and the arts.
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Supporting Our Soldiers Hundreds of thousands of Alabama jobs relate directly to the ever-emerging military and defense industry. Military personnel and defense subcontractors are located in every region of Alabama, and military-related jobs also play a large role in expanding Alabamaâ€™s tax base. From Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville to the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, and areas in-between such as the Anniston Army Depot and Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama must support our soldiers, their families, and military personnel with the investment of our time, effort, and resources. As Governor, I will form a statewide commission comprised of elected officials at all levels of government, as well as business, military, and community leaders to address current and long-term needs for infrastructure and community development near existing and expanding military installations. This commission will consider take BRAC growth, defense related non-BRAC growth, and future community growth when evaluating the individual circumstances. Future community growth will require considering investments such as high quality education for new students and affordable and accessible health care for up-and coming communities of new families and retirees. Community growth investment will also need to address transportation and infrastructure demands, workforce development needs, and creating an environment which allows businesses near new developments to prosper in order to encourage growth. For example, identifying and prioritizing transportation needs around Redstone Arsenal will include evaluating expansions of Martin Road, Rideout Road, Memorial Parkway, the development of a Northern Bypass, University Drive, Winchester Road, and Zierdt Road. My administration also will support our soldiers and military personnel by directly addressing BRAC-related needs and making Alabama the ideal place for relocation. As Governor, I will lead Alabamaâ€™s efforts to organize our priorities and be vigilant to ensure growth long after the BRAC review of 2015.
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Travel and Tourism Industry Alabama has been blessed with natural beauty and diverse ecosystems that range from the beaches of the Gulf Coast to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains with flowing rivers and piedmont in between. Within our borders, Alabama has some of the nation’s finest resources for golfing, hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, horseback riding, biking, and exploring. As Governor, I pledge to be the chief promoter of Alabama’s travel and tourism industry. It will be my job to market and showcase the outdoor wonders of Alabama. As lucky as Alabama may be, there are several areas of our travel and tourism industry that require improvement. One example is Alabama’s State Parks, which people visit and use from around the Southeast to use Alabama’s State Parks. As Governor, I will make sure the parks are in optimal condition, and that the State Park System is managed effectively. Alabama also has an often-overlooked entertainment industry. It is just as important for the Governor to promote performing arts, music, and cultural activities as it is for him to point out the outdoor recreation activities. These help attract new businesses, bring in visitors from other states, and increase the quality of life for Alabamians. The State of Alabama has also been blessed with some of the top sporting events in the world. With powerhouse football teams such as Auburn and Alabama, world class racing at Talladega Superspeedway and Barber Motorsports Park, and classic family outings with the Birmingham Barons and Montgomery Biscuits, our travel industry could not be more ripe for the picking. Transportation to and from such events has historically been an issue with Alabamians. The travel and tourism industry deserves special consideration in my plan for “Population and Industry Specific Infrastructure.” As Governor, I will work to support infrastructure that allows people to reach their destination and ensure that visitors return. 1 2 3 4 5
Top Counties for Tourism in 2008 Baldwin County $2.3 Billion Jefferson County $1.5 Billion Madison County $900 Million Mobile County $890 Million Montgomery County $542 Million
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business Population and Industry Specific Infrastructure
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Industry and Population Specific Infrastructure Industry and population specific infrastructure will be a centerpiece of a Bentley Administration plan to expand our state tax base by recruiting domestic and international businesses to Alabama. As Governor of Alabama, I will work to build consensus on creating effective and sustainable state infrastructure with both short-term and long-term goals for the populations and industries that use our roads, bridges, rivers, and railways. The first aspect of my plan for a transportation overhaul would be the expansion and development of our current roads. Roads afflicted with traffic congestion reduce the productivity of workers in places like Huntsvilleâ€™s Redstone Arsenal. This is important because the United States Army and Redstone Arsenal are the largest job providers in the Huntsville metropolitan area. As Governor, I will work with our Congressional delegation to adequately plan for any increase in population due to Base Realignment and Closures and any correlating subcontractors that will follow. For this reason among others, Huntsville will continue to remain thoroughly significant for current and future economic growth in Alabama. Certain roads need to be developed for immediate relief while aiming to accomplish long-term objectives and prolonged returns on investment. Local governments should be given authority to prioritize certain projects that need immediate attention. As Governor, I will also seek to upgrade other transportation modalities. Our railways for shipping and industrial development should be cultivated in areas strained by the need for growth. The Port of Mobile should be accompanied by modern in-land modalities for Alabama to expand its sphere of influence in international commerce. This will allow Mobile to remain Alabamaâ€™s gateway to the world. We should also take advantage of Alabamaâ€™s natural modalities such as our navigable rivers and waterways to expand and update transportation from the Port of Mobile and other industrial centers to further the economic growth. To keep our
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waterways navigable and beautiful, Alabama must win the water war with Georgia and prevent inter-basin transfers of water without replacement. The upgrade and expansion of airports and general aviation facilities in major and emerging cities across Alabama should be given the greatest assistance possible by our state government. The lengthening of runways across Alabama will be a priority of Alabama’s Department of Transportation under my administration. As Governor, I will support the expansion of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, as required by the prospects of future demand. Industrial efforts for economic improvement in Alabama’s major metropolitan areas should be coupled with the cooperation of state government. As Governor my goal is to make infrastructure development attractive for future and currently recruited industries, and I will be personally involved in Alabama’s infrastructure planning to ensure the success of long-term forecasting. Additionally, I will modernize the Alabama Department of Transportation based on recommendations from a bipartisan panel of experts. These experts will be chosen to thoroughly and independently evaluate the performance of the major modalities within Alabama. This panel’s recommendations will include suggestions for both the short-term and long-term goals of utilizing various methods of transportation. The panel will include citizens and community leaders from each geographic region of the state to assist in preparing certain areas for new industry as well as planning for the future industrial and population growth of Alabama. The many advantages of such an evaluation include promoting the economic benefits of increased productivity due to reduced congestion for Alabama’s workers. For example, my staff and I will evaluate the options to implement the two four-lane north-to-south corridors, one for both East and West Alabama. My administration will also look to complete an I-10 Corridor connector for Southeastern Alabama. As an aspect of my plan for population specific infrastructure, long-term growth in places like the Birmingham metropolitan area should be reviewed thoroughly. Thinking critically and addressing challenges regarding the geographic direction of population growth trends, and the impending amount of sustainable growth, are fundamental to the forthcoming economic accomplishments for Alabama. Through the modernization of the DOT, I will seek the elimination of waste, duplication, and inefficiency that may exist currently by upgrading and using modern technology. Improving operational effectiveness, streamlining processes, Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 31
organizational efficiency, and encouraging organizational innovation and entrepreneurship will be goals of my administration. My administration will be a faithful steward of the tax dollars earned by Alabamaâ€™s workforce. I will personally aim for saving millions of dollars in costs after the modernization and productivity evaluations of the current Department of Transportation are completed. Alabama should also demand high standards from those receiving state contracts. As Governor, the Department of Transportation will provide performance-based incentives for those contractors who keep Alabama moving in times of infrastructure reconstruction and redevelopment. I will demand short-term goals that produce long term results, accountability and benchmarks for state contractors. As Governor, I will address unique concerns for the many subsets of the population and industries across Alabama. Keeping Alabamians moving is crucial to putting Alabamians back to work. As a legislator, I have written balanced budgets and will continue to do so in the areas of education, transportation, and general operating expenses. As Governor, my administration will work to build a consensus among Alabamaâ€™s leaders to end the political and transportation gridlock that is preventing economic development, job creation, and future progress for our state.
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business Innovative Ideas for Alabamaâ€™s Businesses
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Office of Small Business Creation and Development As Governor, I will create an office to encourage and oversee the creation and expansion of small business in our state. As a small business owner for 34 years, I understand the frustrations of the day-to-day operations. Paying taxes, making payroll, and managing employees are struggles all business owners and managers face every day. I know because I faced them with my practice. Having a Director of Small Business will strengthen those businesses already here and will create new businesses in our state, thereby creating new jobs and opportunities for Alabamians. As Governor, my administration will have several goals for this newly crafted office: 1) Work with and organize under one office the many small business offices at universities within Alabama; 2) Cut bureaucratic red tape that stifles the growth of businesses and creates frustration for the owners; 3) Create uniform, step by step directions for the establishment of small businesses; 4) Establish a system through which business owners are notified of any governmental regulation changes. Individuals wishing to start businesses in Alabama should be given all means of assistance possible. There are several government regulations and uncertainties which impact the ability of entrepreneurs to start businesses. A one-stop-shop to help aspiring business owners navigate these issues by providing step-by-step instructions will improve Alabama’s business climate by helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to realization. For example, if one was a carpenter in Fort Payne who wanted to open his own cabinet shop, where would he start his venture?
What type of business licensing does his local or state government require? What taxes would he pay? When are his taxes due? How much tax should he be charging?
These are some very difficult questions for those who have little or no experience when starting a business. CNN named Auburn “One of the Top Places To Launch a Business” in the United Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 34
States. The Office of Small Business Creation and Development should encourage entrepreneurship in areas that are ripe for economic growth. Domestic and International Recruitment Alabama continues to produce a core group of well-trained workers in a business environment of low operating costs that utilizes sales, use, and property tax abatements. Alabama also has historically had some of the lowest property taxes in America coupled with a low rate of corporate income taxes and no inventory taxes. Maintaining these benefits is important chiefly when businesses are choosing to set-up shop or relocate their operations. Alabama has the right tools to be industrially competitive across America and around the world. In order to entice new companies to open operations in Alabama, the stateâ€™s Chief Executive must be an individual who has both extensive experience in the private sector and a comprehensive understanding of state government. I will work with local communities to take advantage of all potential opportunities being presented to our State. Fostering cooperation between local business leaders, concerned citizens, and elected officials at every level of government will be a cornerstone of my administration. One positive example of this approach occurred in 1993, after Mercedes-Benz announced the construction of its first North American assembly plant. Since then, it has been both directly and indirectly responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 jobs in the West-Central region of Alabama. The elected delegation and local business leaders worked diligently with state leaders and negotiators from Mercedes in recruiting their newest venture. Mercedes has continued to remain successful by using a combination of American, Japanese, and German automotive best practices right in our own backyard. Mercedes-Benz International U.S (MBIUS) has become the stateâ€™s largest exporter, with more than $1 billion exported each year. In December 2009, Mercedes-Benz announced expanded operations in Tuscaloosa with the new C-Class Automobile. The C-Class will be the first car to be produced at their plant. The Tuscaloosa plant currently manufactures the M-Class, R-Class, and GL-Class and delivers vehicles to more than 135 markets around the world. The recruitment of MBIUS has been one of the most beneficial events for Alabama in the last 25 years. As a member of the Tuscaloosa community, I witnessed first-hand what the cooperation of local business leaders, concerned citizens and elected
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officials at all levels can accomplish when they work together. As Governor, I would like to encourage the duplication of this type of cooperation in other areas across Alabama. Alabama has much more to offer to industries other than automobile manufacturing. We have traditionally been home to proud and historically thriving opportunities in the industries of forestry, agriculture, and textiles as well as emerging industries such as aerospace and national defense. For example, the cultivation of Alabama’s clean coal and bio-fuels will be vital to the introduction of our energy portfolio to many markets across the globe. White-collar industries such as banking, research, and engineering are also growing in popularity across the state. Unleashing Alabama’s potential to the international marketplace will be a cornerstone of my administration. As Governor and chief economic ambassador of the State, my background in the private sector, coupled with my previous eight years in office make me well prepared to advocate on behalf of Alabama. As Governor, my administration will promote Alabama’s “Right to Work” status in our effort to recruit industries seeking to relocate to an environment more conducive for doing business. We will work to continually improve our relationships and reputation with businesses across the United States and around the globe. Through those relationships, I plan to accomplish many of the goals of my administration. As Governor, these relationships will help Alabama remain a prime location for doing business as well as increasing both imports through our state and exports to every corner of the globe. In my administration, our shores and ports will remain gateways to the world of commerce and innovation backed by well-trained, hardworking, and dedicated Alabamians.
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Creating a Robust Environment for Business Deterring Illegal Immigration In Alabama
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Deterring Illegal Immigration in Alabama Illegal immigration is by far one of the most important topics of conversation and one of the most pressing problems facing the United States of America and the State of Alabama. According to a US Census Bureau Report, the State of Alabama has a population of more than 4.5 million residents who earn a median income of $34,135. One out of every six Alabamians live below the federal poverty line. With an unemployment rate over 10%, illegal immigrants are taking away opportunities from hardworking Alabamians. As Governor, I plan to support our workforce by creating an environment that is unwelcoming to illegal immigrants because they undercut the wages of everyday Alabama workers. In recent years, Alabamians have faced many newly developed problems correlating with the mass influx of illegal immigrants to the state. Alabamians first became aware of the issue of illegal immigration after witnessing numerous civil and criminal violations first-hand. Such activities included: Gang violence and the smuggling of narcotics Document, identification, and insurance fraud Human trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, and other human rights violations To begin addressing these problems, several proactive steps must be taken. First, Alabama should prohibit the employment of unauthorized aliens. This can be accomplished through the use of the E-Verify system. E-Verify is an online system that allows employers to check whether a worker’s name and Social Security number are valid, and that the individual is authorized to work in our country. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Social Security Administration runs E-Verify. According to the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, there are continually new enhancements to make the E-Verify System quicker, more effective, and easier to use. The E-Verify system includes naturalization data, which helps to instantly confirm the citizenship status of naturalized U.S. citizens hired by employers using the system. According to an external audit to the Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify is 99.63% effective. Over 96% of all employee verifications are confirmed in Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 38
the first 24 hours, with the result that 3.5% of screened employees are not authorized to work in the United States. As Governor, I will seek to utilize the E-Verify tool by: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Supporting the use of E-Verify by all private employers in Alabama; Requiring all government agencies to participate in E-Verify; Requiring recipients of government contracts to participate in E- Verify; Finding businesses who knowingly employ unauthorized aliens;
According to the Federation of American Immigration Reform, “Requiring employers to verify the identity and legal work status of their employees will reverse the trend in erosion of wages and working conditions in job sectors and areas of the country where there are large populations of illegal immigrant workers. It will assure employers a legal workforce, attract back American workers to those jobs, raise their income and reduce their reliance on public assistance programs.” The border state of Arizona was the first state to require all employers to verify the immigration status of each employee. As Governor, I also support the plan to deny public benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, retirement and unemployment insurance, public or assisted housing benefits, food assistance, and commercial licenses to illegal aliens. Removing the “job magnet” and denying public benefits to illegal aliens are the easiest ways to remove incentives for those illegal immigrants who want to move to Alabama. My administration will also support denying privileges such as driver’s licenses and resident tuition rates to illegal immigrants. In the fall of 2008, the Alabama State School Board of Education adopted a policy that bars illegal immigrants from entering 2-Year Institutions in Alabama. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, “students will be required to show an Alabama driver's license, state ID card, an unexpired U.S. passport, or an unexpired U.S. permanent resident card.” As Governor, I will seek to enact state-level crimes against identity theft and voter fraud. In Alabama, we also should encourage law enforcement to make use of their inherent arrest authority more frequently. My administration will seek to maximize cooperation between our law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the utilization of “287(g) Training.” Cities, counties, and states have the opportunity to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement under section 287 (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The classification of 287(g) allows officers at different levels of government to deputize their law enforcement officers Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 39
to perform, “the function(s) of an immigration officer.” This cross-designation between ICE and state and local patrol officers, detectives, investigators and correctional officers working in conjunction with ICE allows these local and state officers: Necessary resources and latitude to pursue investigations relating to violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling and money laundering; and Increased resources and support in more remote geographical locations. According to Professor Kris Kobach, “Section 287(g) encompasses the full spectrum of enforcement powers, including not only the power to arrest and transfer, but also the power to investigate immigration violations, the power to collect evidence and assemble an immigration case for prosecution or removal, the power to take custody of aliens on behalf of the federal government, and other general powers involved in the routine enforcement of immigration laws.” As Governor, I will seek to presume illegal aliens to be flight risks for the purposes of bail. I will also work to prohibit the practice of sanctuary cities within Alabama. In 2008, Senator Scott Beason of Gardendale, Alabama proposed Senate Bill 426, entitled "The Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2008." This law was aimed to counter the civil, criminal, and fiscal problems related to illegal immigration. This Law would have: 1. Make it a crime for a person to transport, conceal, harbor, or in any way protect illegal aliens from detection from state and / or federal authorities; 2. Empower and authorize law enforcement officials to cooperate with local, state, and federal agencies to quicken the enforcement of immigration laws; 3. Prohibits the practice of establishing the unwritten order of "sanctuary cities;" 4. Restrict the eligibility requirements for taxpayer-funded benefits such as scholarships, social services, financial aid, and resident tuition to only lawfully present aliens and US citizens, not illegal immigrants; 5. Require law enforcement to arrest and transport a person to jail if the officers stops a person who is driving without a license and the law officer cannot verify the person has a valid driver's license, whereby eliminating the continual "stopping" of someone who signs their ticket and drives off only to be stopped next week and use another name; Jobs and Opportunity for Alabama http://www.BentleyMeansBusiness.com/ 40
6. Regulate the creation of an identification card system for alien workers that will provide Alabama with a reliable system for the authentication of legal workers in the State, thereby providing employers a simple and easy method of ascertaining the legal status of employees; 7. Require all employers to verify proof of legal status of all employees, and penalize companies who knowingly or unknowingly hire illegal immigrants 8. Make it a discriminatory practice for an employer to discharge a US citizen employee while keeping an unauthorized alien employee that he knows or should know is illegal. As a legislator, I supported this effort to curb illegal immigration in Alabama and as Governor I will continue to do so. For the record, there are an estimated 11 to 38 million illegal immigrants living in the United States of America. According to Bear Stearns Financial Management, â€œ8,000 illegal immigrants enter the United States every day.â€? Therefore, as Alabamians who are concerned about our economic development and public safety, we must be diligent to protect our state from the threats correlating with illegal immigration which harms the wages of hard working Americans. As Governor, I will be such an advocate for Alabamaâ€™s workforce.
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Legislative Fiscal Office Breakdown and Extended Analysis of “Reemployment Act of 2010” (Table And Cells From Original Document Can’t Get Copied As Is)
According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, the effective rate for state income tax is calculated to be 2.8%. According to the LFO, individuals spend approximately 15% of their income on taxable items. The applied state sales tax is a rate of 4%. The Education Trust Fund (ETF) gain is the income tax of the newly hired workers plus sales taxes from spendable income. The ETF loss is the deduction times 6.5%. The net gain is the money earned by the Education Trust Fund by subtracting the ETF Gain minus the ETF loss.
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Unemployment Percentage By Month in Alabama (August 2005-October 2009)
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Data provided by the Bureau of Labor StatisticsRaw Employment By Month in Alabama (August 2005-October 2009)
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Top 20 Counties for Unemployment in Alabama Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
County Wilcox County Dallas County Perry County Conecuh County Monroe County Chambers County Lowndes County Winston County Clarke County Butler County Bullock County Clay County Marion County Randolph County Washington County Lamar County Marengo County Greene County Dekalb County Coosa County
Unemployment Rate (%) 25.6 21.1 19.8 19.5 18.7 18.6 18.5 17.5 17 16.7 16.4 15.9 15.2 15.1 15.1 14.8 14.8 14.7 14.3 14
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Promises made by Robert Bentley.