By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Job Creation Act, of 2012, sponsored by Alabama Senator Phil Williams, passed out of committee last week. The bill, HB160 would allow new and existing companies to retain a percentage of state income taxes withheld from eligible employees.
Sen. Phil Williams, who is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate, said the bill is needed to keep Alabama competitive in attracting businesses. “19 other states have similar legislation already passed, which means we are behind the curve. This bill is critical for job growth in Alabama,” Sen. Williams said.
Governor Robert Bentley also supports the legislation. Gov. Bentley said, “Creating jobs in Alabama is my #1 priority as governor. National and international companies are investing in Alabama because we have a favorable business climate and the best workforce training program in the country. To remain competitive with other states in our ability to recruit and retain industry, we need more effective, targeted incentives. This bill means more jobs for Alabama citizens, and it is a critical component of my economic development agenda. I applaud Senator Phil Williams for his leadership, and I will continue to work with him and the Legislature to pass this bill.”
Rep. Williams said that the bill will grow the state economy, and create more Alabama Jobs. “We came into this session with a promise to the people of Alabama that we would work to improve the economy and create jobs. This bill is paramount, not just to the state economy and the education trust fund, but to the people of Alabama who are going to benefit from the jobs created.”
Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said, “We appreciate the dedicated efforts of Senator Williams and Representative Mask as sponsors of this important bill. Alabama now has an incentive used in 19 other states that allows us to compete to create new jobs. The bill also will have a positive impact on the growth of revenue in the Education Trust Fund.”
The bill has already passed the House. To move to Governor Bentley’s desk it still needs to pass the full Senate. Its companion bill HB 160 still has not come out of Committee in the Senate. HB 159 and HB 160 would combine (if passed) to allow the Governor to offer economic incentives from that company’s payroll taxes back to that company if they locate or expand in Alabama.
Opponents of the two bills complain that the two bills give the Governor too much authority and that they would harm schools. The pro-AEA agenda website, Togetherwesoar.org, writes, “Under the proposed legislation, corporations would receive money from the Education Trust at the “sole discretion” of the governor and his staff without any oversight. The bills would open up the Education Trust fund for repeated raids year after year, depleting the fund by half. Though the bills are touted as “jobs” bill, companies which receive the money are under no obligation to create one new job. The bills also allow companies which already exist in Alabama to threaten relocation in an attempt to demand money from the Education Trust Fund.”