Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor James Fields says that Alabama needs a hands-on Lt. Governor who works together with the state's governor and legislature to craft policy. That's something we have not had with our incumbent Lt. Governor Kay Ivey. Really, can you name anything she did during four years in office? We could have had a mannequin presiding over the Senate and gotten the same result.
Left In Alabama recently interviewed Fields at his Birmingham campaign headquarters and we'll be posting several clips from the session. In this one, Fields discusses corporate incentives (aka “corporate welfare”) that the state seems to hand out indiscriminately. Officials say that bringing industry to the state is worth the investment of taxpayer money, but Alabama doesn't track whether the giveaways boost job growth & the economy.
We asked Fields ft. The video is on the flip.
I believe the Lt. Governor will have the ability to bring this issue to light. We have already been hurt by that with Thyssen Krupp in the Mobile area. We gave all these incentives and fixed the place up and ready to go. Then the folks decided, well, they're going to sell it. And they took all those proceeds and returned nothing to Alabama.
We will have things in place and that's one of the things that I will push – that when we give these tax incentives and tax abatements that in case something like that happens, we get some of our money back – if not all.
It doesn't make sense for us to go out and sell bonds & use the tax dollars that citizens have entrusted to us and we're going to give it to some company in hope that they'll create jobs and then they leave us holding the bag. We have done the people of Alabama a disservcie.
The Lt. Governor can, if nothing else, shine a light on the problem. That's what it's going to take: an individual wiling to stand before the cameras and people and say: “Look, your Lt. Governor wants you to know this is happening and you need to talk to your legislator because he or she is voting on this issue. You want your tax dollars well taken care of? This is what's happening, and it's not right.”
Governor Bentley bragged about giving $190 million to a company planning to build a $100 million facility and compete with an existing Alabama company. Fields' perspective:
The Governor touted that the company was coming to the poorest county in the state. At that time, the poorest county had a hospital and today it doesn't. What did we do to see that the infrastructure was in place for that? Now, I'm pretty sure that the people from Golden Dragon are asking themselves the same question. “You sold us a bill of goods.”
Wolverine has provided for a number of families & they've provided a a good living. Same with US Steel, our mining industry. They've provided families with good income and families have stayed here in the state. But now, children are moving away.
On the effects of losing good jobs & replacing them with $12/hour jobs:
The only thing they can point to is that the companies bring jobs and those jobs pay better than minimum wage. But you see, when we lose jobs like we lost at Champion… these new guys aren't paying more than $8-$12/hour, while people at Champion had great benefits, good salary, retirement, vacation, 401k, now all that's gone.
And the Mom & Pop store across the street who counted on them buying gas, breakfast, and coffee. Those folks are gone & Mom & Pop, which was probably a 3rd or 4th generation business are hurting. Same with Wolverine, same with 3M. The same effects are there.
Ride by 5 years from now, that store that was thriving, the grass will be grown up around it, trees falling on it. You lose the multiplier. Then next time you go through, the roads have potholes because the revenue is gone & you can't fix the roads. Houses are for sale or foreclosed. Now, we have more foreclosures in Alabama in history & we aren't paying attention to it. You ride through communities and all you see are for sale signs or the gutters are packed with leaves from last year. People just can't afford to live there: the jobs are not there.
To tout that “I've created these thousands of jobs, but never talk about the jobs that have left the state?” The Lt. Governor has been silent on this issue.
Anyone who lives in small towns or rural areas of the state know exactly the situation he's describing because they're living it right now. Hospitals closing, roads & bridges crumbling, lack of infrastructure that makes it almost impossible to recruit decent jobs, and communities slowly dying as the younger people leave in search of more opportunity.
The Republicans would have us believe that more budget cuts, more tax cuts, and more corporate giveaways are the answer. James Fields knows better and I'm hoping that the people of Alabama do too.
Watch the full video on the flip and then donate to James Fields for Lt. Governor!