The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) is pushing for Birmingham Southern College (BSC) to receive a bailout from the Alabama Legislature, according to its new list of legislative priorities for 2023.
Birmingham Southern is a private Methodist-affiliated college. Late last year, the college requested a $37.5 million bailout from local, state and federal taxpayers. The bailout has garnered the support of State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestvia Hills) and Rep. Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills).
The college asked for $12.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds as well as $17.5 million from the state education fund. It also requested a $5 million contribution from the Birmingham City Council and $2.5 million from the Jefferson County Commission (JCC).
“BBA is acutely aware of the position that [BSC] holds in nurturing and educating our future leaders,” said a spokeswoman from the BBA. “The BBA wholeheartedly supports BSC in its efforts to seek funding from the State Legislature and other fundraising efforts the institution is initiating. We understand the significance of BSC, and should the institution be forced to close, it will be a loss to not only the City of Birmingham but to the entire State.”
JCC President Jimmie Stephens warned 1819 News last year that bailing out a private college could be a “slippery slope.”
In January, BSC officials asked alums to lobby state and local elected officials for a $37.5 million bailout from the government.
However, earlier this month, State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) said that it’s not likely that the state will pursue a bailout for the college.
BBA’s other legislative priorities include supporting legislation to expand eligibility for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM)’s Brownfields Program to create redevelopment zones, creating biomanufacturing zones and raising the cap on historic preservation tax credits.
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