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Economic ‘Game Plan’ put into play by Ivey, Legislature

All four components of the landmark renewal and expansion of Alabama’s economic incentives program passed the Alabama Senate today. The package’s counterpart bills passed the House unanimously last week. Gov. Kay Ivey signed off on all this afternoon.

Today’s passage marks a key victory for what Ivey coined in her State of the State Address as the “Game Plan” — a playbook for economic success.

“I am proud the Alabama Legislature has officially passed all four bills in The Game Plan package,” Ivey said. “I commend both the Senate and House for their incredible work on this timely legislation that will, no doubt, be transformative for our state and more importantly, for our families.

“We are creating stability for our economy and are going to keep Alabama winning for many years to come.”

(Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

In a 29-6 vote, the Senate passed the core renewal and expansion of the initial 2015 Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama credit: the Enhancing Alabama’s Economic Progress Act.

The Jobs Act was designed to sunset this year, but today’s package renewed the incentives until 2028. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) celebrated the collaborations that made today’s passage possible.

“I am immensely proud of my colleagues in the Senate for our successful passage of this winning plan to secure Alabama’s economic future,” Reed said. “We’re building on our recent success and paving the way for the future of Alabama’s economy. Thanks to these incentives, we look forward to seeing more companies and businesses come to our state.”

The core renewal bill will also strengthen Alabama’s focus on site development by transferring tech accelerators and support for underrepresented businesses to Innovate Alabama and encouraging development of new shovel-ready sites.

The other components of the four-bill package, which are poised to be a titanic advantage for Alabama’s ability to recruit companies and create jobs, were also signed by the governor today.

Including the Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy (Seeds) Act, which will rapidly spur the development of industry-ready sites across Alabama by empowering the State Industrial Development Authority (SIDA) with grant-issuing abilities.

Upon passage by the Senate last week, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) said, “States across the country and region have been investing in their site development programs to attract potential employers, and now, Alabama is stepping up to enter the competition.”

A highlight of the multi-chamber, bipartisan effort of the process is shown in the Innovation and Small Business Act, brought by Minority Leaders Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) in the Senate and Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) in the House.

“I truly believe in these bills, and I thank Gov. Ivey for bringing them. We must do the things that make us competitive globally and this is a great start,” Singleton said upon passage today. “For the first time we are going to be focusing on small and rural businesses and how we build and develop this economic growth area.”

This component of the package promises to develop Alabama’s innovation and technology community by establishing the Alabama Small Business Credit.

Daniels said the law “allows us to expand entrepreneurship by creating enhanced funding opportunities and incentives for tech accelerators to help bring new businesses to Alabama and new products to the marketplace.”

The final piece that received a stamp of approval deals with communicating the efficacy of incentives programs and making those statistics publicly available.

The Transparency in Incentives Act, sponsored by Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) amends the Jobs Act to require the Alabama Department of Commerce to publish certain incentivized project information on its website. Additionally, the Commerce Department will disclose the value of any cash incentive extended for the project and the projected 10- and 20-year return on incentives to the state.

Leaders involved in steering the state’s economic development efforts say when Alabama shows its cards, the numbers will impress.

“We are so confident in the data that we see from the tools that we’re using, we know they are positive revenue performers,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. “We know that the Alabama Jobs Act is built upon the premise that every offer we make has to be revenue positive for our state.

(Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

“Companies have to invest here. They have to create new economic activity here. They have to hire Alabamians and put them on the payroll.”

Reed said the numbers speak for themselves.

“$22 billion in new capital investment, 40,000 new jobs, 50 projects,” he said. “Looking at the benefit of the Jobs Act related to a return on investment for the people of Alabama, $9 billion over a 20-year return is going to be a 190% return for the people of our state.”

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 for coverage of the 2023 legislative session. 

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