The state’s top lawmakers were upbeat on the economy Monday at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s Alabama Legislative Update on Monday.
House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter was optimistic about the economic forecast for not only Madison County and Huntsville, but Alabama as a whole.
“Never in my lifetime have I seen our economy grow at the pace it’s growing and certainly Madison County and Huntsville are part of that,” he said. “Over 10% of the state’s GDP comes from Redstone Arsenal, right here in Huntsville.”
The Speaker also commended leaders from Huntsville and Madison on their efforts to upgrade infrastructure, which he said “will be of value for the rest of us.”
Ledbetter was joined by Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield; House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels; Sen. Arthur Orr, Finance & Taxation Education Committee chair; and Rep. Rex Reynolds, chair of the House Ways & Means General Fund Committee.
Daniels (D-Huntsville) proposed some possible economic changes that he believes could help the economy and the workforce within the state.
“For overtime pay, a person that works 40 hours a week or whatever the requirements are, That we untax anything after their 40 hours in order to increase productivity,” he said. “I think it will also help increase productivity for our businesses.
“So a person that works 40 hours, the 41st hour will not have any state income tax taken out of the check, nor will their employer.”
Reynolds (R-Huntsville) spoke about his intent to make sure that funds given to committees for economic purposes are utilized properly.
“We will be asking questions and going through their budgets,” he said.
The new legislative session will begin March 7.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.