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Legislative Wrap-Up – Key Bills to Know About

The Business View – May 2016 / News You Can Use

 

 

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The Mobile Area Chamber’s governmental affairs team of volunteers and staff worked throughoutPreview the legislative session to stay in contact with members of the Mobile-Baldwin-Washington County state legislative delegation and to be engaged in legislative issues that affect Alabama’s business climate.

 

Legislative successes seen this session are:

 

Passage of HB 34, the “Alabama Renewal Act,” led by Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville).Now signed into law, this act makes Alabama more competitive by establishing tax credits for increased usage of the state’s port facilities. It also creates a tax incentive for the acquisition and development of sites that are made available for economic development projects in the State.

 

Defeat of SB60, proposed by Sen. Rusty Glover (R-Mobile), that would have abolished the state’s College and Career Ready Standards, the vital workforce-ready guidelines developed in partnership with Alabama business and industry. The bill was indefinitely carried over in Senate committee, effectively killing the bill.

 

Increased funding in the Education Trust Fund budget to allow for expansion of Alabama’s pre-kindergarten program, known as Alabama’s First Class Pre-K. Program funds were increased by $16 million for fiscal year 2017, allowing for approximately 2,800 more four-year old to access early education.

 

Small Business Jobs Act (HB36), led by Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette), passed. The new law will provide a $1,500 tax credit for businesses with fewer than 75 employees that hire a new worker at a salary of at least $40,000.

 

Apprenticeship Tax Credit bill (SB90), introduced by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), passed. SB90 provides a $1,000 tax credit to employers for each apprentice hired.

 

Key bills tracked and advocated for during the 2016 legislative session included:

 

“Alabama Strategic Investment Initiative” (SB267), introduced by Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) to bond and fairly allocate the BP oil spill fines to state debt and infrastructure projects. Versions of the bill passed the Senate and House but a final compromise was unreachable in the closing hours of the session.

 

Historic Tax Credit Bill (HB62), sponsored by Rep. Victor Gaston (R-Mobile), was voted favorably out of the House on Feb. 5 following a public hearing in committee. Alabama developers and economists testified at the hearing to share information from the recently released economic impact study that showed the tax credit incentive has stimulated the redevelopment of 52 historic properties in the state, including Mobile’s The Admiral Hotel, Marine Street Lofts and the Buick Building. The projects have generated $384 million in private investment. Without passing an extension, the tax credit expired May 2016. In spite of wide spread support and 32 Senate co-sponsors, the bill was held up by Senate Leadership and did not pass.

 

Small Business Investment Company Act to provide incentives for businesses that invest in a small business fund qualified by the Alabama Department of Commerce, HB224 by Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville), passed the House, but stalled in the Senate.

 

Research and Development Tax Credit Bill (HB390), sponsored by Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile), to create $25 million in tax credits for research costs, focused especially on research by a qualifying Alabama research facility, did not pass.

 

HB394 “Investing in Alabama’s Future,” championed by Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville), provided for additional gasoline and diesel fuel excise taxes to be paid into the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund (established in SB180 this session) and is to be spent only on road and bridge projects in the state. “The Chamber has long recognized there’s a gap between current state resources and what is required to address the highway, bridge, and other road maintenance and capital needs in Alabama today and in the future,” said Ginny Russell, vice president of community and governmental affairs. “We will continue to seek additional funds for key infrastructure projects”

 

Click here to read The Business View – June 2016