Alabama lawmakers to review business incentive bills

Lawmakers say bolstering the state’s economy is a priority on both sides of the aisle.
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 6:05 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 10:30 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama lawmakers are on their legislative spring break this week. Lawmakers say bolstering the state’s economy is a priority on both sides of the aisle when they return.

Lawmakers must decide if they want to renew the Alabama Jobs Act. If the act is renewed, it would be in place for the next five years.

“It’s been successful in the past and I think some of the changes are going to make it more successful,” said House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter.

The law offers multiple economic incentives for businesses.

“It’s really an innovative approach and a very conservative approach,” said Stefania Jones with the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Troy University economist Judson Edwards said there’s some division in terms of the effectiveness of incentives.

“I think to let the market do as the market should do is the ideal situation, but that’s just not economic reality,” he said.

Edwards said the reality is that incentive packages keep Alabama competitive.

“When it comes down to making a decision about whether to locate in Alabama or another state, these types of incentive packages do make the difference in deciding that location,” he said.

The Alabama Jobs Act is one of a four-bill package that would mainly be administered through the Department of Commerce. Another bill targets site development for businesses.

“Because of the great success we’ve had we are running out of what some people call shovel-ready, we at commerce like to call them shelf-ready sites,” said Jones.

Another bill in the package focuses on transparency.

“We are going to develop ways that we can be a lot more transparent with how we are incentivizing companies so that people can feel comfortable about it,” said Jones.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels will carry the Innovate Alabama bill, which is the fourth bill in the package. This will focus on small businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation.

“You’re putting them around other business executives that have done this before,” he said. “And so you’re putting them in a position where they can be successful.”

This bill package has bipartisan support.

“We’re making the appropriate adjustments in order to be responsive to the growing demands and needs and areas that are very critical across the state of Alabama,” said Daniels.

None of the bills are filed but, these economic incentives will be a priority when lawmakers return to the state house on April 4.

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