By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, February 6, 2018, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law Senate Bill 98, providing authority to counties to abate rollback ad valorem taxes for certain projects that qualify for the incentives under the Alabama Jobs Act.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Decatur, and will allow Limestone County to offer tax abatements as part of the Toyota-Mazda local incentives package.
“Alabama is a business-friendly state, and this bill is further proof that we want companies who chose Alabama to thrive,” Ivey said. “I am proud of the hard work that went into bringing Toyota and Mazda’s $1.6 billion dollar investment and 4,000 new jobs to Alabama. Bringing the Toyota-Mazda plant to Alabama is a testament to our state’s leadership and to the high quality of our workforce.”
“I appreciate Governor Ivey signing SB 98 and for her constant efforts in leading our team, along with Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, to land the Toyota-Mazda project,” Orr said. “Economic development takes everyone, and I am proud of the working relationship between the Governor’s Office and the Legislature which brought about these new jobs for the Tennessee Valley.”
“The Toyota-Mazda plant is one of the largest economic development projects in our state’s history,” Crawford said. “This bill ensures that local governments can live up to the commitments they made to attract this important venture.”
The law became effective immediately upon receiving Ivey’s signature.
Alabama has become increasingly the go to center for auto manufacturing. Only Michigan makes more automobiles. Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Autocar, Polaris, and Toyota already make vehicles here. Toyota already has a plant that builds four cylinder, six cylinder, and eight cylinder engines. For Mazda, this plant is their first North American manufacturing plant.
The Alabama economy has rebounded strongly after the 2008-2009 Great Recession. The state’s unemployment rate is just 3.5 percent, well below the national rate of 4.1 percent.
Also on Tuesday, International Paper announced that it was increasing its investment in it’s Dallas County plant to $552.7 million. The additional investment will convert a line making copy paper, to the production of high-quality whitetop and kraft linerboard, as well as containerboard. These products are important to the packaging industry, which is experiencing a boom due to surging levels of e-commerce.
Manufacturing is booming in Alabama.
Some question the long term soundness of offering lucrative incentives package to employers; but economic developers insist that the economic multiplier effect and rising wages more than offsets the costs.