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2024 PROGRAM OF WORK

TRANS

FOR GUMBO'S 2O23 LEGISLATIVE REPORT

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Baldwin County remains the fastest-growing county in the state of Alabama and one of the fastest-growing areas of the country.  In addition, the county hosts millions of visitors throughout much of the year.  Finally, the county is the largest in the state with a land mass greater than the state of Rhode Island.  These facts present unique infrastructure challenges for local leaders and our state partners.

 

The continued development of transportation infrastructure is essential for the continued economic growth of Baldwin County, the safety of our residents and visitors and the overall prosperity of our state.  GUMBO will actively support the development of transportation infrastructure in Baldwin County through state, county and city governments to address our area’s transportation needs.

 

  • Extend the Baldwin Beach Express from I-10 to I-65 to provide direct access to our coastal communities and the Baldwin County Megasite in order to facilitate growth and development throughout Baldwin County.

 

  • Encourage the Baldwin County Commission to develop plans and begin to purchase right of way for the ultimate extension of the Baldwin Beach Express from I-10 to I-65.

 

  • Work with all interested parties including the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and our partners in Mobile to build a new bridge over Mobile Bay to enhance the movement of traffic related to tourism and the overall south Alabama economy.

 

TOURISM SUSTAINABILITY AND GROWTH

Gulf Coast tourism is vital to south Alabama and plays a huge, positive role in Alabama’s overall economy. GUMBO is committed to working with local elected officials and key statewide government leaders to achieve continued growth and development of Alabama’s gulf coast tourism economy. 

 

  • Continue to work with the Alabama Department of Tourism to develop an application process for companies who wish to take advantage of the Alabama Sweet Home Tax Incentive for large tourism destination projects.  Guard against any efforts to weaken or undermine this important, new program.

  • Work to protect funding sources for the Alabama Tourism Department and continue to work with the Ivey Administration to ensure that appropriate resources are devoted to the promotion of Alabama as an attractive tourism destination.  

 

  • Work to quantify tourism’s overall economic impact as a key driver supporting the overall economic prosperity of the region. The result will inform a working partnership that unites tourism, economic development and area Chambers of Commerce efforts, optimizing the performance and impact, and amplifying the broader community messaging of all these partners to positively impact Baldwin County.  

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

The local workforce in Baldwin County is at least 2500 people short of meeting peek season employment needs, reflecting a crisis of available labor. Nationally, labor force participation is approximately 60% with Alabama falling even further behind at only 55%. 

GUMBO will:

 

  • Support legislation that creates the Alabama Workforce Housing Tax Credit to address the immediate need for quality workforce housing which is one of the top three obstacles hindering Alabama from increasing our workforce participation rate.

  • Partner with the Alabama Community College System and the Innovation Center to improve and add credible online training courses to supplement the tourism and hospitality workforce.

  • Support the South Baldwin Regional Workforce Development Authority in its effort to secure a public/private partnership for developing the Workforce and Educational Campus proposed in Foley, AL.

  • Support legislation that gives tax credits to employers that have an on-site child care facility, partner with a local child care facility, provide a stipend for child care and/or gives a tax credit to child care providers.

INSURANCE

Insurance availability and cost continue to be major issues facing businesses and homeowners in south Baldwin County.

 

GUMBO will:

 

  • Support legislation to create a state sponsored commercial insurance pool to assist businesses on the coast in their effort to obtain reasonably priced, comprehensive property and casualty insurance.

 

  • Remain actively engaged in the dialogue and effort to provide coastal Alabama residents and business owners a viable and accessible market for property and casualty insurance.

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Baldwin County continues to be the fastest growing county in Alabama.  Much of this growth is fed by the development of residential housing as citizens from our state and throughout the country flock to our area to enjoy and benefit from our excellent quality of life.  The other major economic driver is the massive tourism and hospitality industry.  These economic opportunities also present challenges. 

 

GUMBO will:

  • Work with local mayors, the Baldwin County Commission, the Baldwin County legislative delegation and other state and local partners to help diversify our economy by developing additional industrial and high-tech jobs.

  • Work with local economic development and community leaders to enhance and support  the Baldwin County economic development Megasite to provide jobs and economic opportunities for the citizens of Baldwin County and lower Alabama.

DIRECT POLITICIAL ACTION

GUMBO understands and is fully committed to active, direct participation in the political process through GUMBOPAC,

the official political action committee of Gulf United Metro Business Organization (GUMBO).

 

  • Host an annual Chairman’s Dinner in support of GUMBOPAC in 2023 to ensure that GUMBO will have sufficient resources needed to actively and effectively participate in the political process.

 

  • Support candidates for the Alabama legislature from Baldwin County who understand the importance of tourism to our local economy and who share our vision for the future growth and development of our community and state.

 

  • Support candidates for the Baldwin County Commission who will work with other local elected officials and statewide officeholders to improve transportation infrastructure and address other key issues that impact Baldwin County.

 

  • Reach out to and support legislative leaders from across our state and other statewide elected officials who understand the importance of the tourism economy in Baldwin County and the positive impact it has on the state of Alabama.

MEMBERSHIP, COMMUNICATIONS, AND GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY

As we continue to grow and develop, GUMBO will expand our capabilities to serve our members in south Baldwin County and beyond.  During the coming year, GUMBO will:

 

  • Develop and maintain a website with current, accurate information about GUMBO’s program of work, meetings and activities, legislative reports and information relative to GUMBO and south Baldwin County.

  • Produce a weekly legislative report during the legislative session to provide timely and relevant information about activities of interest to GUMBO members.

  • Organize monthly meetings of the GUMBO Board of Directors and key public officials in Baldwin County including local Mayors, the Baldwin County Commission and other public officials.

  • Host a legislative wrap up for members of the Baldwin County legislative delegation to give a report on activities and accomplishments made during the legislative session and/or,

  • Sponsor a legislative luncheon for the Speaker of the House or the President Pro Tem of the Senate to discuss the recent legislative session.

TOURISM
WORKFORCE
EDUCATION
ECONOMIC
POLITICAL

FOR GUMBO'S 2O22 YEAR END UPDATE

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