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Alabama Senate unanimously passes bills making COVID-19 stimulus checks exempt from state taxes, extending key economic development programs

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama State Senate on Wednesday passed legislation making COVID-19 stimulus checks tax-exempt and extending two key economic development programs, two packages that have been top priorities for state leaders,

Those bills, which originated in the House of Representatives, now head to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature. She has indicated support for both bills in the past.

State Senator Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook) handled the bill exempting coronavirus relief funds from state taxes in the Senate. He remarked on the floor that it becoming law would mean $8.7 billion will have gone to Alabama citizens and businesses untaxed by the state, which he believes will yield significant economic benefits.

In comments to reporters after the bill’s passage, Roberts praised his House colleague Representative Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) for his work sponsoring the bill and ushering it through the lower chamber.

The bill, HB170, also contains a measure that exempts from state taxes any additional relief money approved by the federal government in 2021.

Roberts also highlighted the other aspects of the bill, which makes a number of changes to Alabama’s corporate tax code, including moving the state to single sales factor. Garrett has said previously such moves shift some tax burden out of the state.

The other major piece of legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday, HB 192, updates and extends the Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama tax credits. Both programs had been used successfully in recent years to recruit businesses to all areas of the state.

More incentives will be available for pharmaceutical and medical research, businesses in rural areas or that are owned by African-Americans and women, and projects related to Alabama’s port in Mobile.

The programs are now set to sunset in July 2023, a timeframe that will allow the next legislature — the one to be elected in November 2022 that will begin meeting in January 2023 — to have a say in the future of the programs.

Ivey is expected to sign both bills as soon as this week.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.