Business Council of Alabama

The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is the largest and most prominent business advocacy association in Alabama. Headquartered in Montgomery, Montgomery County, BCA represents the interests of more than 4,000 Alabama businesses to the Alabama state legislature as well as local, state, and federal governmental agencies to improve the business climate in Alabama. As a public interest group, BCA has advocated for increasing tax credits for small businesses and incentives for economic development, improving Alabama’s public education system, and reforming ethics in state government.

The BCA is the leading organization lobbying on behalf of business interests in the state. It was founded in 1985, when the Alabama Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Alabama consolidated. The Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama was also formed at the same time to represent the interests of local chambers of commerce and paired with BCA to link more than 130 local chambers of commerce across the state. The Manufacturing Advocacy Council was created in 2011 to strengthen BCA’s existing partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). In addition, the BCA is affiliated with U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which, along with NAM, are the two major national Washington, D.C.-based industry and business public interest groups in the country.

BCA is overseen by six board officers. Each of 12 BCA districts elects a board member and those 12 board members elect the six board officers from among themselves. The districts were established to ensure that businesses in all parts of Alabama elect representatives to the board of directors and roughly represent the state’s major metropolitan areas, with one member representing an at-large district. Specific business policy interests are organized into nine committees chaired by business representatives and staffed by BCA employees. Those committees are: governmental affairs; education and workforce preparedness; environment and energy; federal affairs; health; judicial and legal reform; labor and employment; small businesses; and tax and fiscal policy. Each committee develops legislative proposals and priorities and then presents them to the BCA board of directors for approval at the organization’s annual meeting. Policy committees overseeing intergovernmental affairs, advocacy, and communications also advise BCA staff during the legislative session.

In 1993, the organization created ProgressPAC, the BCA political action committee (PAC), to financially support political candidates who promote Alabama and its businesses. The PAC is financed solely by voluntary contributions from BCA members. Candidates for public office are endorsed by ProgressPAC following meetings and discussions by the regional advisory committees of ProgressPAC, its board of directors, and the BCA board of directors.

In general, BCA supports sound and sustainable funding for public education from pre-K to technical career training through doctoral programs. In addition, the organization supported the 2013 Alabama Accountability Act, which provides tax credits for parents wishing to send their children to K-12 charter schools. In the area of healthcare, BCA aims to protect employer-sponsored healthcare coverage through private insurers and self-insured plans but has advocated for repealing the Affordable Care Act. As in most southern states, the Business Council of Alabama supports the “right to work” movement. BCA also opposes any efforts to create a minimum wage in Alabama that is above the national minimum wage. BCA is active in a host of efforts related to labor and employment issues. Overall, BCA opposes any policy, legislation, or regulations that it believes will put Alabama businesses at any kind of disadvantage or have any negative effect on economic development.

In the area of judicial and legal reform, BCA has stated that it supports efforts for establishing a business court for resolving complex business and commercial disputes. BCA supports only those taxes and tax reform policies and legislation that are applied equally across industries and do not place a disproportionate burden on any one segment of the state’s economy. Lastly, the BCA aims to support and protect small businesses, which provide the majority of jobs for Alabama citizens, by working to protect entrepreneurial efforts to create and sustain job growth. BCA publishes its state and federal legislative agenda in its newsletter, The Business Advocate.

The organization currently has nineteen staff members who manage communications; government affairs and advocacy; meetings and events; investor relations; strategic operations; political affairs; regional operations; and public policy.

Further Reading

  • Lambert, Minnie, with Jenny Kornegay. Alabama: Moving Forward. Montgomery, Ala.: Beers & Associates, LLC, 2012.
  • Jennifer S. Kornegay, ed. The Foundations for Progress: BCA in the Fight for the Private Sector. Montgomery, Ala., Beers & Associates, LLC, 2012.

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