— Naysayers wrong on job creation
When I first arrived in the beautiful state of Alabama in the late sixties, there were among the races still bitter feelings, which caused an image problem for Alabama with prospective national and international corporations. During the next couple of decades, almost everyone would inevitably communicate to me, “…Alabama has the resources to be way above average and compete nationally for higher paying jobs, yet the potential is never achieved.”
It reminded me of one of the definitions of “insanity” coined by Albert Einstein that could certainly apply to Alabama: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. People wanted good paying jobs for Alabamians, but did nothing to seriously make that goal happen.
Public pension systems across the country are experiencing funding problems as the number of retirees and their life expectancies increase. These demographic changes accompanied with economic factors such as the decline in global markets and the accompanying recession, plus the slower than expected economic recovery have all contributed to reevaluating the current benefit structure to determine if changes need to be made for the long-term future of the pension system.
The big question of late is: Why did the RSA choose to invest about 10 percent of the pension fund in Alabama? The reason is simple: It is extremely difficult to convince companies to invest in Alabama if we do not invest in ourselves first. The RSA began doing just that as you can see by the companies and projects listed below.
Not only do these investments help bring industry and jobs to Alabama, they also benefit the pension funds and the state through returns, by generating additional tax revenues and creating billions of payroll dollars over the decades.
By investing a small percentage of the funds in the state, Alabama made as much progress in the last twenty years as any state by adding quality jobs and an improved image – thanks to Governors Folsom, Siegelman, Riley, and, I’m sure, Bentley. Sometimes, it took a little push to convince the politicians to welcome great companies, like Toyota Engine, when the local leaders at that time did not want higher paying jobs competing for local workers.
At other times, the RSA was in a position to place on the negotiating table something that is extremely difficult to match in other states: $10 million in free advertising to help land Hyundai in Montgomery instead of Kentucky.
Ask yourself where Alabama would be without the investments listed below, and what it would look like to the outside world without the renaissance of Mobile, Montgomery, and the Shoals? Most Alabamians love their state, but it will not grow without investing in ourselves!
Critics of this investment strategy do not want the RSA to worry about the economic growth of Alabama. However, I strongly contend that we must concern ourselves with building the state’s wealth in order for Alabama to provide a sound pension program for its public employees, especially in a state that adores being ranked 50th in the taxation of its citizens, which leads to. . .
NAYSAYERS HAVE NOT ASKED THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: In comparing each of the last 10 years’ investment performance with the average investment performance, what did Alabama receive in return for jobs created and additional tax revenue added to state coffers? Independent experts will determine the answer that will decide whether RSA management has erred in its investment policy or done the right thing in investing in Alabama.
Many of the RSA Investments in Alabama
FULLY REPAID TO THE RSA
ADEM Laboratory – Montgomery
Alabama Energy (Gas Company) – Tuscaloosa
Alabama Cruise Terminal – Mobile
Alabama River Group, Inc. – Monroeville
Alabama River Chip Mill – Monroeville
Alabama River Recycling – Monroeville
Alabama State Bar Building – Montgomery
Bell Microproducts – Montgomery
CIBA-GEIGY Chemical Company – Mobile
Circle S Industries – Selma
Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. – Birmingham/Montgomery
Conventional Mortgages…Alabama Loans…Residential Funding – Statewide
Danberry at Inverness (Senior Living) – Birmingham
Daniel Senior Living, LLC (Senior Living in Huntsville and Birmingham)
Dole Foods – Birmingham
Dominion Senior Living of West Mobile – Mobile
Drummond Company – Birmingham
Dynamit Nobel Chemical – Mobile
Embassy Suites – Montgomery
First Alabama Bancshares – Montgomery
GKN Aerospace – Tallassee
Gordon Persons Building – Montgomery
Gulf Coast Exploration & Science Theatre – Mobile
IDB Southwire Medium Volt Cable Company – Heflin
IPSCO Saskatchewan, Inc. – Mobile
Kvaerner Oilfields Products – Mobile
Fairway Outdoor Advertising (Magic Media) – Statewide
Mercedes Benz U.S. – Tuscaloosa
Mobile Parking Garage – Mobile
Montgomery Coliseum – Montgomery
Navistar Diesel of Alabama, LLC – Huntsville
Navistar Big Bore Diesels, LLC – Huntsville
Perdido Beach Hilton (Gulf Beach Hotel) – Orange Beach
Raycom Media – Montgomery
Rohr – Foley
Signal International – Mobile
Springhill Medical Center – Mobile
The Shops of Grand River – Leeds
United Technology – Huntsville
US Steel – Fairfield
Wal-Mart Distribution Center – Cullman
Williamson Commerce Center – Anniston
Wise Metals – The Shoals
National Alabama Corporation – The Shoals
National Village – Auburn/Opelika
Office Buildings and Parking Decks:
RSA Tower Complex – Montgomery
RSA Plaza – Montgomery
RSA Union – Montgomery
Alabama Center for Commerce – Montgomery
Alabama Center for Postsecondary Education – Montgomery
RSA Criminal Justice Center – Montgomery
RSA Headquarters – Montgomery
RSA Dexter Avenue – Montgomery
RSA Battle House Tower – Mobile
RSA BankTrust Building – Mobile
PCH Hotels and Resorts/Alabama Real Estate Holdings – 8 hotel sites statewide
Point Clear Partners, LLC – Condos – Point Clear
SunBelt Golf Corporation – 11 golf course sites statewide
Dr. David G. Bronner, CEO Retirement Systems of Alabama
The News Courier is owned by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. The Retirement Systems of Alabama is an investor in CNHI.
Need names and details
Read with interest the letter headlined “Wealthy hold power” by Mr. William Graham in The News Courier dated Jan. 22. Mr. Graham begins by denouncing our capitalist system as completely lacking in mercy and compassion. I would love to hear how he reconciles his position with the amounts we are currently spending on entitlement programs in this heartless country.
I am in complete agreement with him on the magnitude of the problem we have with China concerning the trade imbalance and their complete lack of regard for intellectual rights (which he failed to mention). I do wish he would have provided answers for this dilemma as I am sure the Departments of Commerce and State could use the guidance.
I have read his letter twice but am still confused on two points:
• 1. How did he arrive at the conclusion that the people of the Tennessee Valley are responsible for these situations?
• 2. Why was this letter sent to The News Courier instead of The Daily Worker?
Mr. Graham says our political leaders have been bought with Chinese contributions and are conspiring with them to turn over our natural resources. I have known several political leaders of both parties in recent years, possibly as many as Mr. Graham, and I have often (quite often) disagreed with their positions but I firmly believe their only motivation was the betterment of our people and country. If Mr. Graham has evidence to the contrary he has an obligation to name names and provide details.
Great place to live
I am writing in response to letters written by Danny Gilliam and Kimberly Birdsong in reference to “holiday support.” While it is true the Disabled American Veterans and the Vietnam Veterans provided support, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the real catalysts behind the idea.
I would like to personally recognize and thank the following individuals: Roger and Jeanny Keyes, Roxanne Haggermaker, Haley Haggermaker, Alysha Towe, Robin Clem, Sam Keyes, Lyle Sadler of AMVETS Post 21, and Ester and Ed Jurnigan.
I would also like to recognize the sponsors of this event: Lawlers BBQ, 1st Cash Express, Sorrell Dentistry, LCCI of Decatur and, last but certainly not least, Doug Swain who smoked the hams and turkeys.
It certainly takes a community to ensure the success of events like these, but first and foremost it takes someone to think of the idea and get it started, and just like the annual Veterans Day Parade, this is what Roxanne Haggermaker and her family did. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Gilliam that Limestone County is a great place to live!
Jim Watson, A concerned veteran
Taxes main theme of speech
Other than using the words “I” and “me” a thousand times, Obama’s main theme in his State of the Union (campaign) speech was “taxing the rich will solve our problems.”
He just doesn’t get it. Increasing taxes on anyone will only result in the government having more money to waste. A recent poll said 60 percent of voters think jobs and the economy are the biggest problems in the country. Two percent thought income inequity was a big problem. Obama’s record is so bad, his only hope is to push class warfare and envy. Any moron can see the way to create jobs and improve the economy is to lower taxes and reduce the burden of regulations on the job creators.
Obama would rather give $500 million to a “green” company who goes bankrupt than approve an oil pipeline that would create thousands of jobs and help lower the price of gasoline. Obama’s motto seems to be, “If it creates jobs, kill it.” “If it wastes taxpayer money, approve it.”
As Obama likes to say, “We can’t wait.” He is right. We can’t wait to get this guy out of office. I never thought we would have a president worse than Carter. I was wrong. Carter looks great compared to Obama. Comedian Dennis Miller put it perfectly when he said he would vote for an old shoe before he voted for Obama. An old shoe could not do a worse job.
Also, When did the Republican Party get the right to decide who can belong to which party? I don’t know if I would vote for Butler, but he has the right to be on whichever party ballot he wants. Shelby used to be a Democrat, as did Griffith and others. I used to call myself a Republican, but this sort of thinking has converted me to an independent. My message to the Republican Party is let the voters decide and stop acting like a bunch of elitists.