News & Updates

February 1, 2012

Job Growth Top Priority in 2012 Session

Alabama is reducing its unemployment rate faster than any state in the nation, which is a testament to the difference pro-growth economic policies can have on job creation, Alabama’s Legislative Leadership said Thursday.

The dramatic drop in unemployment shows the difference pro-growth policies make.  Alabama’s unemployment rate for December was 8.1 percent, down from 8.7 percent in November and 10 percent in July. That’s a 19 percent decline in the last six months. Alabama’s progress reducing unemployment outpaces not only the national average, but also neighboring states. 

New unemployment figures for December 2011 show that Marshall County’s rate has dropped to 6.9%.  This represents the lowest unemployment rate in the county since December 2008. Unemployment in Marshall County has been dropping steadily since June.
A number of laws enacted in 2011 are contributing to a better job climate in Alabama, including:
    * The Full Employment Act, which provides incentives to companies hiring permanent workers;
    *  A series of six tort reform laws that offer job creators long-needed protection from frivolous  
        lawsuits; and
    *  A crackdown on illegal immigration, which sent a clear message that only legal workers could
        hold jobs here.

The Legislative Leadership has made the following job-growth proposals the top priority in the upcoming Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature:

*    Streamlined Tax Incentives to Recruit and Retain Jobs

      This constitutional amendment would give the Alabama Development Office and the Governor
      more flexibility in offering tax incentives to land major economic development projects, and
      retain those companies that might otherwise relocate outside Alabama.

*    “Heroes for Hire” Tax Incentives for Veterans Returning from War

      With wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of Alabama veterans will soon
      return home to a stagnant economy in which it is difficult to find a job.

      This proposal would offer Alabama businesses a $2000 tax credit for hiring a veteran recently
      returned from war

*      “Made in Alabama” Job Incentives Act

        Recommended by the Speaker’s Commission on Job Creation and passed into law in the 2011
        Regular Session, this measure allows the state to offer temporary state income tax incentives
        to offset build-up phase tariff costs for international companies bringing jobs to the state.

*      As a direct result of this legislation, literally hundreds of foreign-based companies representing
        thousands of jobs expressed interest in locating their North American facilities in Alabama.

        Unfortunately, the Alabama Education Association is suing to block the law, creating
        uncertainty for businesses that could take advantage of the incentive.

*      Data Processing Center Economic Incentive Enhancement

        Data processing centers are unique components of a 21st century economy. These centers
        employ a skilled workforce, provide high-paying jobs, and have a low environmental footprint.
        This proposal would expand the scope of certain tax incentives in order to focus on recruiting
        more data processing centers to Alabama.

*        Making Workforce Development Work for the Unemployed

        Thousands of unemployed Alabamians are able - but not trained - to enter into available
        good-paying skilled-labor jobs, such as construction, welding, plumbing and machine

          We will make the necessary investments that afford our two-year college system the
          resources they need to meet Alabama’s jobless with Alabama jobs

*        Alabama Regulatory Flexibility Act
          The Alabama Regulatory Flexibility Act would require each state agency to prepare an
          economic impact analysis as well as a regulatory flexibility analysis prior to the adoption of
          any proposed regulation that may have an adverse impact on small businesses.
* Legislation Establishing a Small Business Financing Authority

One of the top inhibitors small business development and growth is access to capital.
          Loans are increasingly difficult to come by even for good candidates with solid business
A key recommendation of the Speaker’s Commission on Job Creation, this authority would
          assist small businesses with financing issues by making direct loans, helping small
          businesses attract more banking partners, and meeting a variety of credit-related needs.
          Other states have created small business financing authorities. In Virginia, for example, the
          return on investment has been $5.81 for every state dollar loaned to a small business.
          Using that calculation, a one-time appropriation of $5 million would allow the state to
          assist more than 200 small businesses and generate $35 million in private equity and credit
          in the first year the loans are made.

* Creation the Alabama Sales, Use, and Lease Tax Simplification Task Force

The Alabama Sales, Use and Lease Tax Simplification Task Force would be a twenty-
          member panel required to study the issue of streamlining and simplifying the
          administration and remittance of sales, use and lease taxes.

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