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Commerce chief touts success of Jobs Act incentives

The  Legislature reauthorized the Alabama Jobs Act and the Growing Alabama Act in 2021, extending the economic incentive programs though July 31, 2023. Both programs include tax credits and other economic incentives to encourage more industries and high-paying jobs to move to the Yellowhammer State.

In August, the Study Commission on Renewing Incentives met at the Statehouse to assess Alabama’s economic development competitiveness and determined the programs have been a success.

Friday, on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield highlighted the successes of the economic incentives laws.

“Since July of 2015,” Canfield said, “the Alabama Jobs Act incentives have allowed us to attract over $17 billion of new investment into the state, creating about 34,000 jobs, and that’s coming from just under 200 projects from July of 2015 thought the end of 2021.”

Canfield also said Alabama’s rising wages are a direct result of the Jobs Act.

“The data capture from our compliance system shows that we are achieving that rise in per-capita income,” he said. “We’re actually seeing Jobs Act-incentivized jobs that are producing wages that are 31% higher than Alabama’s median wage, currently, and we’re receiving a positive return on that incentive investment of 168%. That’s pretty powerful.”

Canfield said there’s no question the economic programs are one reason why Alabama’s economy is still performing so well.

“When you look at our economy, I don’t think anybody can argue,” he said, “unemployment is at historical lows, we got more people employed today that we ever had in our state’s history, so the signs are all good. This program is working.”

While promoting the success of the incentives, Canfield warned inflation could be an issue for some of the potential new projects.

“[T]here are other companies that we see that are being impacted by the uncertainty,” he said. “So, I think while we can pinpoint that there are certain sectors that are continuing to be robust, as we say, in project activity, there are other sectors that are beginning to say ‘maybe we need to wait and see because the cost our cost of capital is rising.'”

Canfield believes the Legislature will see the positive effects of the incentives laws and have no issue reauthorizing them in the next session.

“I think that we’re going to see a lot of interest in reauthorizing the Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama,” he said, “and I think that the proof is going to be once we get legislation drafted and go before the joint legislative committee on incentives, making our recommendation, hopefully they will embrace our recommendations, and then we’ll take it to the Legislature.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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