The Alabama House of Representatives passed four economic incentive bills included in Gov. Kay Ivey’s “Game Plan,” expanding the state’s ability to provide special funding and tax abatements to specific corporations.
The “Game Plan” also includes legislation to add transparency requirements to those providing incentives.
All four bills - HB241, HB257 , HB240 and HB247- were passed unanimously.
State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) presented the first two bills. State Rep. Cynthia Almond (R-Tuscaloosa) presented HB240, and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) presented HB247.
According to Garrett, HB241 dubbed the “Economic Progress Act,” will raise the cap on incentives under the Alabama Jobs Act (AJA) by $25 million annually for the next five years. Currently, AJA is capped at $350 million.
The bill also expands the period during which tax credits can be sold and add tourism incentives.
State representatives also voted for an amendment that fixed a typo and raised the population limit in the definition of a “targeted county” from 50,000 to 60,000. Under the bill, businesses in targeted counties will receive at least 25% of the incentives as long as the Renewal of Alabama Commission receives applications for projects in these counties.
Ivey’s push to expand economic incentives is also backed by Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper), Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), Alabama Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro), Daniels, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.
The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) already endorsed the plan in March.
Last month, leaked emails from trustees at Troy University expressed concern about research findings critical of economic incentive programs discussed at an event hosted by Troy’s Johnson Center for Political Economy earlier this year.
In the emails, Troy chancellor Jack Hawkins suggested scheduling a meeting to discuss how the trustees could vet the topics the Johnson Center gets to discuss. Troy trustee and Alabama State Bar president Gibson Vance expressed concern about pressure from Alabama Power and the BCA.
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