This week’s Coffee County Republican Club meeting started with a speech by Bradley Byrne discussing the government stifling private business. Once he received his standing ovation and sat down, the rest of the meeting illustrated his point exactly.
As primary season kicks off, members of the Coffee County Commission were on-hand as several of them (Republicans) have primary challengers.
Now, for a little background information, as a resident of Coffee Co. on and off for the past 8 or 9 years, I’ve seen first-hand the state’s most out-of-control County Commission. They have repeatedly gone into business against the private sector and hurt local companies.
First, they went into the landfill business. They’re using prison-labor for the recycling operation at the landfill — so the private sector recycling operations can’t compete. They’re getting waste from both inside and outside of Coffee County which hurts private landfills in the surrounding areas, especially in Covington County.
Now, I’ve just learned that the Brundidge landfill is for sale and the Coffee County Commission is one of the bidders. They’ll end up paying $1-$5 million to buy it just to close it down — spending millions of taxpayer dollars just to feed their monster.
Next, they went into the waste hauling business. They don’t pay any FDIT tax when they buy their trucks. They get their tags for free when private sector companies are paying about $5,000 to tag a new truck. They also don’t pay any road-use tax that helps repair the roads. The DOT doesn’t stop their trucks because they’re not held to the same regulatory standard as the private sector. And to top it all off, they’re paying themselves to dump in their own landfill. They’ve put numerous local private waste haulers out of business over the past several years.
Now, they’re getting millions of dollars in grant money to launch a tire recycling operation. What they haven’t mentioned is that 14 companies in Alabama’s private sector have tried to do the exact same thing but failed. If you thought Solyndra-style deals were just a federal government thing, think again. They get free money and if it goes out of business, SO WHAT? It was you’re money, not theirs. And the small companies who dispose of tires in the area will get put out of business as well — just so the County Commission can feed their newer and bigger monster.
Flash-forward back to this week’s Coffee County Republican Club meeting. One of the county’s GOP Executive Committee members stood up and said, “Why is the county going into business against the private sector?” Commissioner Jim Thompson responded, “The only company we compete against is BMI.” [editor’s note: BMI is owned by State Representative Barry Moore] Commissioner Thompson must have forgotten about Martin Environmental and SDS that saw their operations crushed by the county’s involvement.
Then Commissioner Dean Smith, who recently switched to the Republican Party, spoke up. ”It’s good for the county to be in business,” he said. He went on to explain that they can’t raise taxes but need to generate revenue to improve the roads. Hey Mr. Smith, I’m sure you recall that the county isn’t paying the road use tax the private sector guys are. Maybe if there were more private sector trucks on the road rather than your government-owned trucks, the road-use tax revenue would be much higher.
“What about free enterprise?” remarked the Executive Committee member.
Commissioner Kim Ellis defended the Commission by again saying, “we did this so we could make a profit without raising taxes.” So Mr. Ellis, it’s OK to put people out of business so people can have lower taxes? Why then doesn’t the government just own EVERYTHING?
One visitor said, “If I didn’t know any better I would think we were at a Democratic Party meeting. They’re up there defending big government.”
Luckily the GOP has some solid primary challengers in Josh Carnley, Kevin Mitchell and Jason Bruce. Carnley is running for a vacated seat, Mitchell is running against Jim Thompson, and Jason Bruce is running against Al Britt.
Take note: out-of-control big government is not just a federal issue.