MONTGOMERY — Governor Kay Ivey has called for renewing Alabama's economic development incentives programs.

Members of the Joint Legislative Study Commission on Economic Development Incentives recommended at a meeting last week that the Alabama Legislature consider increasing the $350 million cap on Alabama Jobs Act economic development incentives and extending the law's sunset date for another five years until July 30, 2028.

"It's also vitally important that we continue to focus on our economic and workforce development efforts, and this starts with renewing Alabama's economic development incentives so they can continue to serve as a reliable tool for job creation and industry expansion," Ivey said in her speech at the legislative orientation luncheon at the Alabama State House on Wednesday.

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed (R-Jasper), incoming Speaker of the House of Representatives Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) and Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) put out statements last week agreeing with the commission's recommendations. 

Economic development incentives range from tax breaks or direct cash assistance offered by state and local governments designed to keep or draw businesses into the area. The scope and amount of assistance differ from state to state.

The Alabama Jobs Act offers various tax credits and abatements to qualifying new and existing businesses in Alabama. The law is scheduled to end on July 31, 2023, unless an extension is passed in the upcoming legislative session in 2023.

The commission also recommended increasing transparency around Jobs Act incentives and that "information on receipts of Jobs Act incentives" be publicly available "on a rolling basis after a final project agreement has been executed between the state and a private company."

Dr. Dan Sutter, professor of Economics at Troy University, said in an interview last week with 1819 News that improving transparency was a "crucial issue" concerning economic development incentives.

"If you're generating all these benefits, then let's share all the information," he said. "Let's be completely transparent and let independent, outside researchers get access to records so we'll be able to see if we can actually verify some of these statements" about the benefits.

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