Alabama grocers are hoping state lawmakers can help keep them in business.
The Alabama Grocers Association met in Birmingham Wednesday at The Club. A panel of state legislators tried to address a number of their concerns facing their business. One top issue is healthcare.
"Obamacare is a big concern. Having to deal with that and our employees. We always provided insurance for them. We have been happy being privatized. Government intervention may or may not be a good thing," James Cochran of Buffalo Rock Company said.
Cochran was recognized at the luncheon as the association's "Manufacturer of the Year." The lawmakers were also questioned about the need to provide tax incentives to existing Alabama businesses rather than luring new companies to the state.
"Grocers want to expand into areas that are tough areas, that are food deserts, but often times they need economic incentives to make a profit in those areas," Ellie Taylor, President of the Ala. Grocers Assoc. said.
The lawmakers told the group Gov. Robert Bentley is expected to offer a plan to help them.
"If you look at the number of small business, that is who hires people in our state. It's small business. We are looking at a combination of issues before we go back into session in January," Rep. Paul DeMarco said.
The issue of the Alabama Beverage Control board and getting out of the liquor business came up but the lawmakers said a lot questions have to be answered first.
"Well what are we going to do with the employees? There are several hundred if not thousands working for the ABC agency," Sen. Jabo Waggoner said.
Taylor says the grocery business, despite the closures and bankruptcy, is stabilizing in Alabama but they would like a little help from lawmakers.
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