By Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey
It didn’t take long traveling the state once elected Lieutenant Governor to discover the main concern of Alabamians was improving the job climate. I pledged to do my part to create an environment in which the red tape that entangles businesses would be removed, people could move up the job ladder, new jobs could be created and Alabama’s economy would once again prosper.
Along with Governor Robert Bentley, the new majority in the House and Senate met the challenges of a stalled economy head on. Beginning over two years ago in the organizational session, we addressed the people’s priorities. In the session just ending in May, several pro-business bills were passed. Senate Bill 459, Senate Bill 400 and House Bill 140 are three measures which will help a wide range of businesses in Alabama. SB459, sponsored by Senator Slade Blackwell, allows businesses to file tax returns just once through a free electronic system, rather than filing in every municipality and county where it does business. This system will be optional for businesses to use. SB400, sponsored by Senator Greg Reed, allows businesses destroyed by tornadoes last April to keep their tax breaks if they have to move to a new location to reopen. HB140, sponsored by Representative Micky Hammon and Senator Arthur Orr, would allow new and expanding businesses that spend at least $100 million on capital improvements and hire at least 100 people to delay the tax credit for up to four years.
Bills such as HB243, HB144, HB154, and HB599 were passed in order to attract new industries to Alabama. HB243, sponsored by Representative Terri Collins and Senator Gerald Dial, increased incentives to the film industry in order to bring more productions to Alabama. HB144, sponsored by Representative Bill Roberts and Senator Greg Reed and, allows economic incentives to be used to create new jobs in the coal industry. HB154, sponsored by Representative Dan Williams and Senator Slade Blackwell, provides tax breaks to data processing centers locating in Alabama. HB599, sponsored by Representative Rod Scott and Senator Clay Scofield, establishes tax incentives and capital credits for certain tourism attractions.
Other bills, such as SB143, SB139, HB39 and HB328 were passed to encourage and maintain industries that already have a strong presence in Alabama. SB143, sponsored by Senator Jabo Waggoner, provides $2.3 million to the State Department of Education to make sure all of Alabama’s 1,848 teachers and principals who are certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards get the $5,000 salary supplements they were promised in years past. SB139, sponsored by Senator Clay Scofield, creates a friendly business climate for companies involved in building our state’s road infrastructure. It limits the civil liability of a contractor or subcontractor who has worked on a state or local road project, once the work is completed and accepted by the Alabama Department of Transportation. HB39, sponsored by Representative Paul Lee and Senator Ben Brooks, is designed to promote the aircraft industry by making parts and components, used to build military or transport aircraft, sales tax exempt. HB328, sponsored by Representative Donnie Chesteen and Senator Clay Scofield, creates tax incentives for the purchase and installation of irrigation system to help improve agricultural production
As a result of the Legislature’s commitment to bringing jobs to Alabama, our unemployment rate is down to 7.2 percent, the lowest it has been since April 2008. These numbers speak volumes of your state’s leadership, including Governor Robert Bentley, President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Speaker Mike Hubbard. They have and will continue to make economic growth job one.
As presiding officer of the Alabama Senate, I can assure you our chamber is firmly committed to working on your behalf. Our business is your business, and your input and concerns are always welcomed. Please feel free to contact my office at 334-242-7900.
I am honored to serve as your Lieutenant Governor of the great State of Alabama.