Dumb and dumber

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2002

We're glad both the Butler County Commission and Greenville City Council approved resolutions to support the Hyundai incentive package.

Hyundai is the closest thing to a slam dunk Butler County will see in many lifetimes. No, Hyundai isn't headed to Butler County n the company's first North American production facility will be 30 miles north of Greenville in Hope Hull n but our proximity to its location is an absolute blessing.

Be it from friend or foe, Gov. Don Siegelman and his crew in Montgomery deserve a pat on the back for getting Hyundai to Alabama, and we are fortunate to be the closest neighbor to the selected building site.

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With all the good news that has poured in since the Hyundai announcement, we can't help but wonder why Butler County Commissioners Gary Hanks and William Phillips voted against Butler County helping with the Hyundai incentive package. The evidence is on the table that this means jobs to folks in Butler County. It most likely means new corporate citizens, too, since Hyundai likes most of its hundreds of suppliers and those that supply them to be located nearby.

Hanks and Phillips both say they are doing what they think is best for people in their districts. That is nonsense, fellas. This is not about patching asphalt and grading dirt roads, but about jobs, the chance for population growth, the chance for an increased tax base and a better way of life for all citizens of Butler County. This is about Butler County's place in something that is guaranteed to change the landscape of Alabama forever. Are the citizens in your districts against a better way of life? Are they satisfied with us having one of the highest unemployment rates in the state every month for the past three years?

We need jobs, period.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to recruit new industry to Butler County, and thanks to the efforts of folks like Malloy Chandler, Ricky McLaney and Dexter McLendon there has been some success. But the number of manufacturing jobs for Butler countians still pales in comparison to 10 years ago. It would take the best industrial recruiter 20 years to attract the employers to Butler County that Hyundai promises to bring. Butler County was asked to contribute $300,000 to the overall incentive package during the next three years – $100,000 a year. That is a bargain by any calculation.

We're glad Hanks and Phillips couldn't find another on the commission to vote against the contribution, and we thank goodness for Commissioners Frank Hickman, Jessie McWilliams and Chairman Daniel Robinson n Robinson broke the 2-2 tie to approve the resolution.