Last month, Gov. Kay Ivey finalized “The Game Plan,” signing into law several bills aimed at supporting job-creation projects, investing in more industry-ready sites, and solidifying Alabama’s edge in securing such endeavors against our neighboring states. Thanks to her initiative and innovation, and the legislature’s support and hard work, Alabama now has a secure path to lead the Southeast in economic development.
The first bill of the four-part package, “Enhancing Alabama’s Economic Progress Act,” extends the lifespan of the Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama program through 2028, with added enhancements meant to increase their effectiveness. Notably, this bill increases the incentives cap to $25 million per year for five years to allow Alabama to remain competitive in recruiting larger projects to our state. In response to requests from manufacturers for clean energy sources, this bill also works to qualify renewable energy generation facilities for Jobs Act incentives, as well.
As Alabama has seen increased success in economic development, updates to the SEEDS Act allow the State Industrial Development Authority (SIDA) to accelerate the development of industry-ready sites as they become available. For businesses to come here, we need sites to be ready for them. This Act also provides resources for the State to partner with communities to share development costs for sites of all sizes to encourage local economic development in rural areas of the state, as well. This continued funding and emphasis on site investment is critical to the long-term success of Alabama’s business climate.
The Plan’s inclusion of Innovation and Small Business Corporation legislation aims to rejuvenate Alabama’s innovative growth and further supports underrepresented businesses in rural areas, transforming the state into a hub for technology and innovation. The greater flexibility granted helps meet the needs of small businesses – as well as women- and minority-owned entities – to provide needed, additional support to these important arms.
The fourth bill in the package, the “Enhancing Transparency Act,” amends the Jobs Act by requiring the Alabama Department of Commerce to publish certain incentivized project information on its web site, thus ensuring accessibility to and transparency around important information related to companies receiving incentives. The publishing of such information is meant to increase confidence and maintain clarity in relation to all efforts.
Since the Jobs Act took effect in 2015, it has brought more than $22 billion in new capital investment and 40,000 jobs to the state via economic development projects, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. This detailed and strategic plan for Alabama has built the foundation for economic success throughout the state for years to come, and for that, we must thank Governor Kay Ivey and our state Legislature.