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House Republicans: 2014 will be year of ‘taxpayer relief’ in Alabama

Alabama House Republicans announce their 2014 legislative agenda
Alabama House Republicans announce their 2014 legislative agenda

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama House Republicans rolled out their 2014 legislative agenda today in a press conference at the State House, and it doesn’t take long to figure out where their focus lies.

With bills such as the Small Business Tax Relief Act, the Business Tax Streamlining Act, the Tax Elimination Act and the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, 67 percent of the bills on the agenda are either a tax credit, a tax cut or an attempt to otherwise ease the tax burden on individuals and small businesses.

The House Republicans’ agenda, which they have dubbed the “Commonsense Conservative” agenda, consists of 9 bills that make up what will be the House GOP’s focus for the 2014 session.

“In the fourth and final year of the quadrennium, Alabama House Republicans are continuing to promote fundamental reforms, constitutional rights protections, and pro-business, job growth initiatives that will continue to move Alabama forward,” House Republicans said in a joint press release. “The ‘Commonsense Conservative’ agenda reflects the conservative beliefs and commonsense reforms that Republicans embrace.”

A quick synopsis of each bill on the agenda can be found below. Yellowhammer will have a more in-depth critique soon, so stay tuned.

1. Small Business Tax Relief Act

Sponsor: Rep. Barry Moore, R- Enterprise
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

Currently, businesses are required to pay in advance if their average monthly estimated sales tax payment is more than $1,000. The Small Business Tax Relief Act will raise the threshold for making these payments from $1,000 to $2,500 per month. This could provide approximately 6,000 Alabama small business owners with an immediate, one-time tax cut of up to $2,500 and will inject approximately $4.6 million into the Alabama economy.

2. Business Tax Streamlining Act

Sponsor: Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

This streamlining bill will simplify the process for filing business personal property taxes and save Alabama businesses both the money and the hassle that come with reporting these taxes. The bill will create a new online tax filing system that provides a one-stop-shop for filing these taxes and will also allow businesses claiming $10,000 or less in business personal property tax to file a short form that does not require them to itemize their property.

3. Tax Elimination Act

Sponsor: Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Meridianville
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

Under the Tax Elimination Act, House Republicans will give authority to the Alabama Department of Revenue to suspend taxes and fees when the cost of collecting the tax exceeds the amount of revenue the tax brings in.

4. Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights

Sponsor: Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

Under current law, the Alabama Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights governs the administrative procedures of the Department of Revenue and local governments relating to taxpayers’ rights and responsibilities including refunds, penalties, assessments, and appeals. This means that the Department of Revenue is judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to the tax assessment appeals process. The Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights will ensure that all taxpayers are treated fairly through an independent process for hearing tax appeals and more taxpayer-friendly procedures.

5. Alabama Taxpayer Audit Protection Act

Sponsor: Rep. Wayne Johnson, R- Ryland
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

[T]he Obama Administration and its Internal Revenue Service have targeted certain non-profit groups merely because of the message that those groups have sought to actively promote… With the Alabama Taxpayer Audit Protection Act, House Republicans will ensure that Alabamians never have to worry about their state government threatening them for their political views.

6. Revolving Door Act

Sponsor: Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

[The Revolving Door Act] bans former legislators from lobbying either house of the legislature for two years after leaving office.

7. The Healthcare Rights of Conscience Act

Sponsor: Rep. Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

The Healthcare Rights of Conscience Act states that Alabama health care workers cannot be forced to provide a service that violates his or her conscience, specifically services relating to abortion, human cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, and sterilization.

8. Adoption Tax Credit

Sponsor: Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

This legislation will give Alabama residents who adopt an Alabama child either through private adoption or through the state foster care system a one-time $1,000 income tax credit, which would apply in the tax year in which the adoption was finalized.

9. Statutory Immunity for Teachers and State Employees

Sponsor: Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia
What House Republicans are saying about the bill:

State employees, officials, and education workers will receive clear cut and codified immunity from being sued while acting in their official capacity with passage of the Statutory Immunity for Teachers and State Employees Act.


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