Impact of Governor's scandal on AL economy: Political science expert says no evidence
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —
With all eyes on the resignation of former Governor Robert Bentley, some wonder what his scandal means for business.
If news of it turns off the general public, could it do the same for potential employers?
ABC 33/40 NEWS sat down with a political science expert to test this theory.
The rumor mill has been swirling and some think it might affect the economy. Some politicians said it does. Dr. Natalie Davis wants to put any discussion of a downward economic trend to rest. If you have been following the impeachment process of the former governor, you heard Republican Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon ask him to resign on Friday. Speaker McCutcheon explained, "Let's end this embarrassment to our state..Let's quit harming the economic development of Alabama."
But what economic impact does Bentley's controversial relationship with former Top Aide Rebekah Mason have on the state? Dr. Davis said pump the brakes. Dr. Davis told ABC 33/40, "Whether his going or staying affects the state of the economy? I think that's a stretch."
Dr. Davis based business recruitment mostly on what the legislature does. "If you want a tax deal with an incoming industry...or if you want new roads built for a manufacturing plant..you are going to have to go through the legislature to get it," said Dr. Davis. The former governor's personal life mattered little to potential job creators, said Dr. Davis. Dr. Davis also cited history. "In my time, I have seen Guy Hunt leave the scene, Governor Siegelman was already out of office, and then Governor Bentley," explained Dr. Davis. "I am not sure we have any evidence that our economy will tank as a result of removal of the governor."
We reached out to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama but they offered no comment.
In the end, Dr. Davis said the educational system was once seen as a black eye for business. But she explained, it didn't stop Mercedes from coming to the state. Why would an incident like this be any different?
Public Relations expert Stephen Bradley told ABC 33/40 NEWS over the phone it looks bad on the state, but real economic expansion comes from business that is already in the state.