Metro Birmingham should secede from Alabama

As you may have heard a petition filed by a Chuncula resident seeking Alabama’s withdrawal from the U.S. reached 25,000 signatures and now requires a response from the White House.

The petition asks the administration to “peacefully grant the state of Alabama to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government.”

Well, if this is a good idea, I’ve got an even better one.

It’s time for metro Birmingham to secede from Alabama.

I wrote a blog recently titled “Is metro Birmingham condemned to mediocrity?.” I complained that metro Birmingham is growing slower than every other major Southern City. However, all of my comparisons were with cities outside Alabama.

I ran into a friend afterwards who told me my facts were wrong. He pointed out that both Mobile and Montgomery are growing slowly.

Do I need to say more?

Alabama has an outdated mean-spirited Constitution that does not allow counties to manage themselves. Look at the financial mess the State Legislature created for Jefferson County through its Constitutional powers  to deny counties the authority to make decisions.  (Another case of our dysfunctional government structure)

And isn’t it strange our Constitution requires everyone in the State to vote on local issues? During our most recent election did you feel qualified to vote on the following amendments?

• Amendment 3–a local amendment for Baldwin County that would make the community of Stockton a landmark district that could not be annexed by other municipalities.

• Amendment 5–authorize the merger of the Water and Sewer Board of the city of Prichard to the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System.

Is that any of our business?

And what about perks we don’t receive in Alabama?

• Florida has no State income tax; Tennessee only taxes dividend and interest income for individuals.

•Alabama is one of only two states that offers no tax breaks on groceries.

• Students with good grades in George receive financial assistance for college.

And this just in:  Forbes just selected Alabama as one of eleven states facing a fiscal death spiralclaiming Alabama is not safe for municipal bond investors, home buyers or other individuals.

Maybe it’s time we petition to move metro Birmingham to Georgia or Florida.

Let’s turn Birmingham around. Click here to sign up for our  newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

This entry was posted in Alabama Constitution, David Sher posts, Government structure, Population and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Metro Birmingham should secede from Alabama

  1. Matt says:

    *I think this post is misguided.  Montgomery, Mobile and Huntsville are all growing faster than metro Birmingham.  Huntsville notably so.  When I graduated high school in 2003 Huntsville was roughly 180k now it’s over 400k.  More than doubling in 10 years.  Some experts project Huntsville to continue that rate of growth and hit one million people in the next ten years.

    See this article for an example of growth: http://blog.al.com/montgomery/2012/08/montgomery_sees_major_populati.html 

    I think it’s the leadership of this metro area that is primarily responsible for holding this city back. Last night’s Christmas parade in downtown Birmingham (a Tuesday night at rush hour!) with literally no one watching (I did not see a single person out watching in the six block radius I covered of the route) yet tying up traffic for every single person trying to leave downtown was such a terrible idea and it’s emblematic of the problem with Birmingham leadership.

    • David Sher says:

      Matt, Metro area growth according to the Census 2000 to 2010: Mobile 3.3%; Montgomery 8%; B’ham 7.3%; Huntsville 21.8%. http://www.citypopulation.de/php/usa-metro.php

      Birmingham-Hoover is not competing with our peer cities: Nashville, Jacksonville, Charlotte, etc. (See my blog http://www.citypopulation.de/php/usa-metro.php

      Huntsville does an incredible job of working together. When their Chamber flies to DC to meet with legislators, folks from Madison County, Huntsville, Corporations, etc. all fly together with one common agenda. (I understand 150-200 people)

      We send separate delegations from BBA, Jefferson County, Shelby County, UAB, etc. all with conflicting agendas. We don’t have a government structure that allows us to have a single vision.

      Purpose of this particular blog post was to point out shortcomings of our State Constitution.

      Matt, I very much appreciate your comments–please continue to do so.

  2. Jim Loop says:

    *On top of all that rabid desire to remove Alabama from the heart of the union , they can’t even spell secede correctly. Very comforting to know that we would be led by such an outstanding group! Oh well, when was spelling ever an indication of anything important?

    I do enjoy your commentary! Keep up your poking and prodding. Maybe we’ll all be better for it.

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