I’m sure you saw the headlines…
“Tracey Morant-Adams, the city’s economic development director, said the city faces competition from nearby suburbs, including Trussville, necessitating action from Birmingham. The proposed project agreement also notes that competition
‘…at various times over the past several years, Serra and the dealerships have received pressure from the manufacturers they represent to relocate their business operations to suburban areas outside of the city,” according to the agreement. “In order for the dealerships to remain in the city, Serra has determined that it will be required to undertake a project involving certain capital improvements to the dealerships which are estimated to total over $2.8 million to complete…'”
Have you read about the new Target that just opened in Homewood?
“The city of Homewood approved more than $10 million in incentives for the project in September 2010, and it is expected to be a huge economic boost, said Mayor Scott McBrayer. What the new Target will do is draw in shoppers from other cities, namely Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills…”
“Alabama Crown is receiving $1.2 million in state and local tax abatements over seven years.” (To move from Birmingham to Alabaster)
“Hibbett is receiving about $2.2 million in state and local tax abatements over 10 years.” (To move from Birmingham to Alabaster)
I’m not saying Serra, Target, Alabama Crown, or Hibbett are wrong for asking for incentives. You can’t fault a business for getting someone else to pay their bills.
And I’m certainly not saying the City of Birmingham, Homewood, or Alabaster are wrong. If they aren’t aggressive they will lose business and taxes to one of the other 36 municipalities in Jefferson County. Our cities have no other option.
And let’s not forget the $40 million Birmingham is set to pay Trinity Medical Center not to move to Irondale.
How does this help our metro area?
It’s every man for himself.
This can’t happen in Nashville or Jacksonville because each has a unified city/county government.
Nashville and Jacksonville spend their economic development dollars to recruit businesses from outside their regions. They are growing; we are not.
We spend our economic development dollars stealing from one another.
It’s $10 million here; $40 million there–soon you’re talking about real money.
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David Sher is a co-founder of Buzz12 Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).