Morgan delegation optimistic about jobs package
Republican members of the Morgan County House delegation on Thursday predicted that a package of initiatives designed to create jobs and recruit industry could begin improving Alabama’s economy as early as 2012 if quickly approved by the Legislature when it convenes on Feb. 7.
“Since taking office, our Republican Caucus has focused its energies on passing bills that will help bring jobs to Alabama and keep us a step ahead of our sister southeastern states when it comes to recruiting new businesses and expanding existing ones,” said Rep. Micky Hammon (R – Decatur), who is the longest-serving Republican in the Morgan County delegation. “Workforce development, freedom from excessive government regulation and attractive tax incentives for businesses of all sizes are all important pieces of the job creation puzzle that this package addresses.”
Reps. Ed Henry (R – Hartselle) and Terri Collins (R – Decatur) added that achieving quick passage of the jobs package is important if its positive effects are to be felt by the end of 2012 and noted that the economic plan is a natural extension of the Republican Handshake with Alabama, an omnibus agenda of conservative measures and principles that legislators codified into law last year.
Because of the new Alabama Robotics Technology Park located in the area, the lawmakers highlighted legislation that would offer tax incentives to attract high-paying, state-of-the-art businesses looking to locate near the facility and a bill that will provide needed skills training for the workforce that will be employed at such facilities.
The bills in the jobs package offered by Republicans as part of their 2012 legislative agenda include:
Streamlined Tax Incentives to Recruit and Retain Jobs
This constitutional amendment would give the Alabama Development Office and the governor more flexibility in offering tax incentives to land major economic development projects, and retain those companies that might otherwise relocate outside Alabama.
“Made in Alabama” Job Incentives Act
Recommended by the Speaker’s Commission on Job Creation and passed into law in the 2011 Regular Session, this measure allows the state to offer temporary state income tax incentives to offset build-up phase tariff costs for international companies bringing jobs to the state.
As a direct result of this legislation, literally hundreds of foreign-based companies representing thousands of jobs expressed interest in locating their North American facilities in Alabama.
Data Processing Center Economic Incentive Enhancement
Data processing centers are unique components of a 21st century economy. These centers employ a skilled workforce, provide high-paying jobs, and have a low environmental footprint. This proposal would expand the scope of certain tax incentives in order to focus on recruiting more data processing centers to Alabama.
“Heroes for Hire” Tax Incentives for Hiring Veterans Returning from War
With wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of Alabama veterans will soon return home to a stagnant economy in which it is difficult to find a job.
This proposal would offer Alabama businesses a tax credit of at least $1,000 for hiring a veteran recently returned from war.
Making Workforce Development Work for the Unemployed
Thousands of unemployed Alabamians are able – but not trained – to enter into available good-paying skilled-labor jobs, such as construction, welding, plumbing and machine maintenance.
We will make the necessary investments that afford our two-year college system the resources they need to meet Alabama’s jobless with Alabama jobs.
It would also offer veterans a $1500 tax credit for starting their own business.
Alabama Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Alabama Regulatory Flexibility Act would require each state agency to prepare an economic impact analysis as well as a regulatory flexibility analysis prior to the adoption of any proposed regulation that may have an adverse impact on small businesses.
Legislation Establishing a Small Business Financing Authority
One of the top inhibitors for small business development and growth is access to capital. Loans are increasingly difficult to come by even for good candidates with solid business plans.
A key recommendation of the Speaker’s Commission on Job Creation, this authority would assist small businesses with financing issues by making direct loans, helping small businesses attract more banking partners, and meeting a variety of credit-related needs.
Other states have created small business financing authorities. In Virginia, for example, the return on investment has been $5.81 for every state dollar loaned to a small business. Using that calculation, a one-time appropriation of $5 million would allow the state to assist more than 200 small businesses and generate $35 million in private equity and credit in the first year the loans are made.
Creation the Alabama Sales, Use, and Lease Tax Simplification Task Force
The Alabama Sales, Use and Lease Tax Simplification Task Force would be a 20-member panel required to study the issue of streamlining and simplifying the administration and remittance of sales, use and lease taxes.