Our Opinion: Legislature must act quickly

Published 7:23 am Monday, February 19, 2007

By Staff
Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. This time around, it's a little bit of taxpayer money spent on a special session to try to make a lot more money by landing industries for Alabama.
Gov. Bob Riley on Friday called for the special session to be held Feb. 26. The Legislature will be asked to raise the cap on bonds authorized from the Capital Improvement Trust Fund from $350 million to $400 million. The final authority to raise the cap must come from a vote by the people because it involves a Constitutional amendment.
Unless the Legislature acts quickly, the voters will not have a chance to decide about the amendment until September - much later than the likely deadline for two industries now considering locating in Alabama.
A group of Democratic senators opposed to Riley had asked him to hold off on calling the special session until March - but that delay could cost us precious time in landing these industries. Waiting that long means voters won't be able to consider the amendment until September - much later than the industries are likely to decide where to locate.
Riley was smart to disregard those senators and call for the special session quickly.
We hope lawmakers will now act quickly to raise the bond limit. Our state needs the ability to use those kinds of incentives to attract new jobs and industries.
If we knew that one of those industries was likely to locate in or near Escambia County, we'd be begging for that special session to have happened last week, not by the end of the month.
We need our legislators to show unity on this issue in the special session - it will show these industries that we look forward to seeing them locate in our state.

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