Legislation to reauthorize the Jobs Act and the Growing Alabama Act, two recently expired economic development programs, passed the Alabama Senate unanimously Wednesday afternoon.
The Jobs Act provides hundreds of millions in business incentives to in-state and out-of-state companies wishing to expand or locate to Alabama, while the Growing Alabama Act provides a funding mechanism for certain economic development projects in Alabama.
“The ability to recruit jobs and businesses to Alabama is critically important to the future of our state as we continue to grow our economy, and this priority legislation gives us the tools to support that mission,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, a sponsor of the bill, in a statement Wednesday. “Supporting job growth and industrial development is the number one way that we can create a higher quality of life for Alabamians and allow our state to meet its full potential. Our neighboring states, as well as states across our country, are constantly looking for ways to recruit and attract economic investment opportunities. This bill gives Alabama the ability to be competitive in that process.”
The Jobs Act was updated from the previous $300 million incentive cap in 2020 to $325 million in 2021, eventually rising to $350 million in 2022. It also gives an opportunity for new market tax credits to companies owned by women, African Americans or small businesses located in low-income communities.
Likewise, the Growing Alabama Act was updated from the previous $10 million per year cap in 2020 to $20 million, reserving $5 million to be allocated in the first six months of the calendar year for rural counties and $4 million for technology accelerators.
The program will also be available to fund site improvements in low-income communities eligible for new markets tax credits, as well as providing mentorship and support programs for underrepresented businesses, according to the statement.
“These economic development incentives that are being renewed and sharpened have proven to be essential tools in our toolbox when it comes to recruiting and expanding industry across Alabama,” said state Rep. Bill Poole, another sponsor of the bill. “And because these incentives are performance-based in terms of requiring the creation of new jobs and attracting new investment, our citizens can be assured that these incentives are a sound investment in Alabama’s economy and the future prosperity of our citizens.”
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Gov. Kay Ivey and Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield both praised the bill’s passage, with Canfield stating the incentives “will go far in our continued efforts to create new investment and new jobs at a time we need them most for the people of Alabama.”
“As one of the first bills to pass this session, this legislation sends a strong message that Senator Greg Reed’s priority as the new Pro Tem is to move Alabama forward,” Ivey said. “I applaud Senator Reed, members of the Alabama Senate, and Chairman Bill Poole, who led this effort in the House, for the significant action today to ensure we can recruit and retain good-paying jobs on behalf of the people of Alabama.”