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House votes to raise cap on incentives

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, May 9, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to pass the Alabama Jobs Act, sponsored by State Representative Alan Baker.

Rep. Baker said that HB574 is a follow up bill to 2015 Legislation. That earlier bill capped the amount of economic incentives that it can offer between then and 2019 at $850 million. Rep. Baker said that the state is just $69 million away from that hard cap.

Rep. Baker said that this bill would extends the 2015 Alabama Jobs Act to 2020 and changes the cap on incentives from a hard cap of $850 million to an annualized cap of $340 million per year.

Now up is first bill. The Alabama Jobs Act HB574 by Rep. Baker.

Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) asked, “Where is this money going? Unemployment is going up poverty is going up. This is corporate welfare.” Rep. Todd complained that the Commerce Department is not sharing information with her and other members of the legislature. “We should be helping small businesses and not large companies.”

State Representative Marcel Black (D-Tuscumbia) asked, “Does your bill have anything in it requiring a certain hourly wage?”

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Rep. Baker answered that the bill requires that 80 percent of the workers be full time for a company to receive these incentives.

House Minority Leader State Representative Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) complained that the Commerce Department has not done enough to lower the poor counties like Lowndes and Wilcox where the unemployment is often as high as fifteen percent. Rep. Daniels said, “This is the last incentives bill I will support until we do something for rural counties.”

The bill passed 100 to 1.

Only Rep. Todd voted against.

The bill now goes to the Senate where it has been assigned to the Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.

 

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Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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