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Economic ‘Game Plan’ moves closer to goal line

The renewal and expansion of Alabama’s economic incentives toolkit, known as the “Game Plan” moved closer to the goal line today. 

The Senate approved two of the four bills included in the package while the House cleared all four. Each bill across both chambers received unanimous approval. 

Scheduled to expire in July, the initial Alabama Jobs Act and related Growing Alabama credit are designed for renewal through the core legislation passed by the House today: the Enhancing Economic Progress Act. 

“Eight years is a long time in the economic development world,” Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) said. “And in the past eight years the world has changed, economic incentives have changed, what other states are doing have changed.”

In addition to extending the sunset date of the Alabama Jobs Act to 2028, the core renewal bill would increase the cap for incentives by $25 million annually until reaching $475 million in 2028. 

On the Senate side, Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) brought the Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy (SEEDs) Act, designed to put Alabama in the business of developing industry-ready sites.

“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,” Orr said.

The other component passed by the senate was a transparency bill brought by Sen. Garland Gudger (R-Cullman) that would make incentive offering and return figures widely available. 

“We always want to ensure Alabamians that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively,” Gudger said. “Increasing and enhancing the transparency of the incentives program serves our citizens and increases their confidence in the process.” 

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The House also passed the Innovation & Small Business Act, which would create new funding mechanisms to attract new high-tech companies to Alabama with the goal of transforming them into profitable, job-creating engines. 

“To give an idea of this legislation’s potential effect, in August of this year, Innovate Alabama awarded more than $4.5 million in grant funding to 30 small businesses during the first round of the program,” Rep. Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) said. 

“The bill 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 Senate will take up the core renewal legislation and innovation component next week. 

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) shared his gratitude and excitement for the advancements made today.

“The cohesive approach to the legislative process signifies that the ‘Game Plan’ is a top priority for the entire legislature and it is our job to ensure that we are making wise investments in our state that will yield the best product for generations to come,” Reed said.

Tuesday will begin the 11th day of the regular session.

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. Follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 for coverage of the 2023 Legislative Session.

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