Experts discuss economic impact of AL leadership transition

Updated: Apr. 13, 2017 at 7:01 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Uncertainty is never a good a thing for a community's business climate, says Dr. Keivan Deravi, an economist and professor at Auburn University Montgomery.

"In the long run business will go as usual because, in the long run, businesses are interested in the infrastructure," Deravi said. "That's the access to the air, the roads and they're interested in access to the labor…the taxing environment."

However, he said there is "no doubt" in the midst of recent scandal by ex-Gov. Robert Bentley that there will be a short term pause as businesses assess Alabama's credibility as a place to do business.

But Deravi believes new Gov. Kay Ivey's "deliberate" direction and outspoken support for Alabama's economic development is a hopeful sign for a quick recovery.

"People don't form relationships with locations or buildings," Deravi explained. "They want to see familiar faces. They want to see people they have been negotiating with that they can trust in. State government and local development authorities are the first ones that businesses are facing."

Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William Canary said he feels "great" about Ivey leading powerful change in the state's economic development.

"She's more than capable of doing that, and she's earned that respect over the years," Canary said. "She has been a huge advocate for economic development."

Canary said Ivey will be "The 3 E Governor"- Economic development, Education, and Ethics.

"She jumped in the job, and she's already made some very important decisions. We applaud her on her support of infrastructure," Canary said.

According to Canary, 85 percent of the new jobs created in Alabama will come from industry that already exists in the state. In that regard, he said Ivey's leadership and reputation will allow for Alabama's existing business leaders to feel a sense of confidence to expand.

As for business leaders who are looking at Alabama from the outside, he said the Alabama business community is confident Ivey's influence and partnership will be effective in taking a global stance to welcoming outside business.

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