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Financial health of Business Council of Alabama could be in jeopardy

According to many lawmakers, recent years have not been kind to the Business Council of Alabama’s lobbying efforts.

And based upon financial filings, recent years may not have been kind to the organization’s fiscal health, either.

The BCA’s 2016 IRS Form 990 filing, which is required of 501(c)6 nonprofit organizations, does not paint a rosy picture of finances. An examination of the document reveals that contributions and income have decreased while salaries and expenses have increased. 
The document showed $4,142,334 in revenue and $4,776,029 in expenses, a deficit of $633,695. (The previous year showed a minimal surplus of $95,433.)

President and CEO Billy Canary’s total compensation that year was $627,595. Another $782,131 was transferred to ProgressPAC, the BCA’s lobbying arm.

Nancy Wall Hewston, senior vice president of communications for BCA, told Yellowhammer News in an email that public finance reports from 2016 showed only a “snapshot” in time and shouldn’t be used to determine an organization’s overall financial health.

But the IRS filing guidelines state that Form 990 is the primary mechanism by which an entity exempt from income tax is required to ”publicly disclose the organization’s annual returns.”

The BCA’s financial standing is facing even more uncertainty with the potential departure of several of its largest members.

Executives from three separate companies representing some of the highest contributors of the organization have told Yellowhammer News that a failure to change the organization’s leadership may compel some of the state’s largest employers to leave BCA and form a new entity with the goal of more effective advocacy on issues directly involving jobs and the economy.

These companies leaving could result in substantial funding losses for BCA. One estimate indicates the BCA would lose more than 25% of its already imperiled annual budget.

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