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Gadsden Times: Incentives amendment a third of the way there

Staff Report

It’s only halfway through the Legislature, and if it wins final passage still must be approved by voters in November. However, the fact that the Alabama Job Creation and Retention Act still lives has to be a relief for Gov. Robert Bentley, Republicans in the State House and residents of Etowah County.

The proposed constitutional amendment is designed to help companies upgrade existing facilities or build new ones by letting them keep a percentage of the state taxes withheld from new employees created by those projects.

Etowah County’s interest stems from a sense that such incentives might prod the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. into upgrades at its Gadsden plant that would preserve the 1,700 or so existing jobs there and possibly clear the way for more.

The amendment passed the House on Thursday and now will be considered by the Senate, where it needs 21 votes for approval.

Bentley and GOP legislative leaders have pushed hard for the measure against opposition from the Alabama Education Association, which traditionally fights anything that could lower state tax revenues that provide a big chunk of the Education Trust Fund.

It shouldn’t have taken much pushing, given the Republicans’ supposed legislative “supermajority,” but things got dicey and there was at least the possibility of an embarrassing defeat for both the governor and legislative leaders.

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The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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