Now that we know who our next mayor is, and I’ve addressed her directly (see last week’s Outlook), it’s time to address the city leaders as a whole. You see, our economy sucks. I could sugar coat it in such a way that sounds less offensive as a whole, but that just wouldn’t be my style. I call it like I see it, and what I see says that it sucks.
However, there have been some positive moves. The best was an effort to get our local delegation to Atlanta to see about getting rid of that ridiculous energy tax. That tax unnecessarily increases the cost of energy in Southwest Georgia and makes it extremely difficult to compete for new industries that our community so desperately needs.
Make no mistake folks, this is a good thing. It’s such a good thing, in fact, that I liked it when B.J. Fletcher was campaigning on it. I thought it was a great idea. Apparently, so did some of our beloved leaders who, despite their efforts to endorse her opponent, have embraced Fletcher’s plank as if it where their own.
Of course, what matters most is getting Albany out of the sewer of economic stagnation and moving it forward. While the repeal of the energy tax can certainly help with that, it’s not enough all on its own.
That’s why I hope the powers that be in Albany will take a moment and realize that if Fletcher had one really good idea, and she’s been as successful a businesswoman as we have all seen, then perhaps she has a lot more good ideas. If someone has good ideas, why not use them where they can do the most good?
It’s my hope, and my suggestion, that the powers that be put B.J. Fletcher on the Economic Development Commission.
Few can argue that Fletcher has been anything but a success in business. Few can argue that she was wrong about the energy tax as well, as is evidenced by the fact that repealing the tax is being discussed by those powers that be. With that in mind, there is no compelling reason for Fletcher to not be on the EDC, except for ridiculous rumors or personal grudges.
Honestly, Fletcher clearly has a good handle on what works and what doesn’t work in Albany. She knows what can help create economic opportunity and what will inhibit efforts to grow. We need someone with that kind of knowledge and a willingness to work toward helping Albany leave stagnation behind.
Or, we could find out that the new powers that be would rather keep things like they have been. While less than surprising, it would still be disappointing. Having almost 28 percent of your population living in poverty is hardly a status quo we can believe in.