The Alabama Policy Institute ranked Alabama’s 50 largest cities by how friendly they are for business. The rankings are based on four categories: economic vitality, business tax burden, community allure and transportation infrastructure.
Ranking ahead of Jasper in the Top 10 were Fairhope, Millbrook, Athens and Daphne. Ranking just below Jasper were Prattville, Northport, Montgomery, Center Point and Trussville. Alabama’s least business friendly city was Selma.
“I’m excited about this ranking, but I can’t say that I’m shocked,” Mayor Sonny Posey said. “I’m too familiar with the work that has been done in recent years to make sure that we are a city that is friendly to business.”
Jasper’s ranking is a major improvement from 2012 when the city was ranked at No. 24.
Business tax burden proved to be Jasper’s best category, ranking No. 4.
The city improved the most in economic vitality, jumping from a score of 23.67 to 58.19, improving its ranking in that category from 44 to 19. Recent job growth was where Jasper shined in economic vitality. The 2012 rankings scored job growth in the city from 2009 to 2010 at 6.76. The new rankings scored job growth from 2010 to 2011 at 78.63.
“For the last eight and a half years, our interest has been on development, and I think we are just now seeing some of the fruits of our labor,” Posey said.
Jasper also raised its score by a small margin in community allure, now ranking 16th, and stayed exactly the same in transportation infrastructure at No. 31.
The city’s distance to a commercial service airport and a containerized shipping port hurt its ranking in that category.
“Future Interstate 22 is now officially Interstate 22,” Posey said. “That may be the move that we needed to see more things happen for us along the interstate. It will be completely finished by the end of this year or the early part of next year, and we’re ready for that. We have our interchanges ready for business.”
The Alabama Policy Institute (API) is an independent, nonprofit research and education organization that is issue-centered and solution-oriented. It provides in-depth research and analysis of Alabama’s public policy issues to impact policy decisions and deepen Alabama citizens’ understanding of, and appreciation for, sound economic, social, and governing principles.
To view the entire API report, visit http://www.alabamapolicy.org.