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Pete Mackey
Pete Mackey
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Is Alabama Really That Unfriendly To Business?

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It is your first trip to the State of Alabama. You have traveled to Mobile on a business trip. Your mission is to assess Alabama as a potential site for your company’s expansion. As you read the op/ed page of the local morning paper , you start thinking that you are wasting your time. The lead editorial hits you in the face – ” Alabama Needs to Flee ’tort purgatory’ .” A survey of corporate lawyers by the the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Alabama close to the bottom for business friendliness. You quickly pull out your notebook and computer and fire up Google, almost afraid of watch you might see. At least some confirmation will allow you to cut the trip short and getback home.

Your first search, however, pulls up encouraging news– Thyssenkrupp, the German steelmaker, is building one of the largest private industrial developments in U.S. history 30 miles north of Mobile. Wow! If the newspaper is right, those folks at Thyssenkrupp sureare suckers. Further searches reveal that automobile manufacturers have been building production plants in the State for the last several years – Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota. The follow up stories talk about all of the suppliers that are moving to Alabama to be near those plants. Hmm…. Maybe you need to look at this a little further, you say. When you do, you see EADS North America has selected Mobile Alabama United States Manufacturing location for the KC-45 airplane contract if and when that company wins the award.

Now you are really confused. Why would some of the largest, savviest product manufacturers in the world choose the State of Alabama if it is so unfriendly to business? The answer is, this state is not unfriendly to business. The tort system in Alabama has had absolutely no measurable effect on businesses leaving or failing to locate here. I would invite any reader out there, including the editorial board at the Press Register, to cite some statistics that prove me wrong. As for those corporate attorneys who were surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce, perhaps they should do a little more homework before they fill out their next survey. Better yet, maybe they should try to figure out how it came to be that the insurance industry garnered record profits in the years following some of the most devastating (dollar wise) disasters in history.