The Alabama Legislature demonstrated its commitment to helping rural counties benefit from the kind of economic growth the state’s cities have experienced by passing the Alabama Incentives Modernization Act.
HB 540, which enhances the existing Alabama Jobs Act, unanimously passed this Senate this week with amendments. The House of Representatives concurred with those changes Thursday, sending the bill to Gov. Kay Ivey.
Alabama Farmers Federation External Affairs Director Matthew Durdin praised the Legislature’s efforts to support rural Alabama.
“I’d like to thank Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, and Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, for navigating this piece of legislation through their respective chambers,” Durdin said. “The rural jobs bill is the third leg of legislation we have worked hard on this year to help rural communities. With rural infrastructure, rural broadband and now rural jobs bills all passed, rural Alabama is now poised to prosper as our urban friends have these last few years. Without Rep. Poole’s and Sen. Reed’s leadership, this vital piece of legislation wouldn’t have passed both chambers unanimously.”
HB 540 expands investment credits to rural projects creating at least 10 new jobs. The bill also includes incentives specifically targeting the creation of high-tech jobs. The definition of rural counties under the Jobs Act was changed to include those with populations of less than 50,000 while preserving a competitive advantage for those with populations of 25,000 or less. Additional counties qualifying for incentives are Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Covington, Dale, Dallas, Escambia, Franklin, Geneva, Lawrence Marion, Pike and Tallapoosa.
The legislation allows the Growing Alabama Credit to be used for investment in industrial parks and the Alabama Farm Center. It also expands the Opportunity Zone program and reduces capital gains taxes for investment in those areas.
The Alabama Incentives Modernization Act provides incentives to offset income, premium, utility and financial institution excise taxes. It includes accountability provisions such as oversight through the Department of Commerce. The bill does not increase the caps on amounts allowed under the Jobs Act or Growing Alabama Credit. Both programs would still expire in 2020.