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Alabama lawmakers renew, expand economic incentives for businesses


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Alabama Legislature has approved plans to renew and expand economic incentives for businesses in Alabama.

House Bill 192 (HB 192) was delivered to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Thursday after unanimously passing the Senate Wednesday and the House last week. Sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa and Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper, the bill renews and improves job creation incentives found in the Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama Act.

“This is a very important passage for economic development efforts in the state of Alabama,” Poole said. “This is a renewal of what is essentially the state’s primary economic development structure, but we have revised and sharpened that in an effort to create economic opportunities in every corner of the state and in a number of key strategic sectors.”

HB 192 reinstates an expired tax credit for cash contributions to local economic development organizations and doubles the annual credit cap to $20 million. The bill also creates a new jobs credit for underrepresented businesses and provides incentives for new and existing businesses looking to expand into rural areas.

“This is legislation that is so important to the people of Alabama,” Reed said. “New jobs, new opportunities to grow businesses, growing our economy – especially in the midst of what we’ve gone through with coronavirus, as we’ve dealt with the pandemic. We all recognize these have been difficult times, but we have good things to talk about in regards to Alabama’s economy and we want it to keep moving forward.”

Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said in a statement Wednesday he was deeply grateful for the efforts of the governor and the Legislature to renew and expand the incentives.

“These incentives will go far in our continued efforts to create new investment and new jobs at a time we need them most for the people of Alabama,” Canfield said.

HB 192 was one of three bills Ivey highlighted as priorities during her State of the State address Feb. 2. The other two are House Bill 170 (HB 170), which would ensure that federal stimulus funds derived from the CARES Act and subsequent coronavirus relief legislation are not subject to state income taxes, and Senate Bill 30 (SB 30), a “safe harbor” bill that would provide limited liability protections to businesses, health care providers and other entities against civil lawsuits related to COVID-19. Those two bills have also passed the Legislature and been sent to the governor for her signature.

“I applaud Senator Reed, members of the Alabama Senate and Chairman Bill Poole, who led this effort in the House, for the significant action today to ensure we can recruit and retain good-paying jobs on behalf of the people of Alabama,” Ivey said in a statement. “As one of the first bills to pass this session, this legislation sends a strong message that Senator Greg Reed’s priority as the new Pro Tem is to move Alabama forward.”

Lawmakers are also looking at more ways to bridge the digital divide by extending high-speed internet service to urban, suburban and rural communities in Alabama. Reed says supporting the work of the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition will make that happen.

“We’re going to be seeing a different post-coronavirus economy in Alabama that’s going to be unique,” Reed said. “Our job in these incentives is not just to put something out that we continue with forever but to look at the different industries, look at the areas of our state – make sure that we are applying those resources of recruitment in the right places and then giving the Department of Commerce proper tools to be able to attract those industries to our state.”

The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to run through May 30.

This story via. Alabama NewsCenter

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