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State Senate passes bill incentivizing tech companies to ‘stay and grow’ in Alabama

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed HB 540 as amended, a bill aimed at bringing more rural and high-tech jobs to Alabama.

The legislation, one of the top remaining priorities for lawmakers and industry recruiters as the 2019 session winds down this week, is known as the “Alabama Incentives Modernization Act.” Sponsored by State Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), the bill seeks to bring the Yellowhammer State’s economic incentives up to speed with what other states are doing to attract jobs.

The bill expands the number of rural communities that may incentivize companies under the Alabama Jobs Act. HB 540 also would provide incentives for tech companies to make Alabama a permanent home.

Previously passed by the House of Representatives on a unanimous 98-0 vote, the bill was carried in the upper chamber by Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper).

Speaking to a Senate committee on Tuesday, Reed emphasized the importance of attracting and keeping entrepreneurs and job creators in Alabama. He said that the state could miss out on the next Facebook or Apple because its incentives system is currently out-of-date.

On the floor, Reed outlined the three core tenets of HB 540: building rural communities; recruiting and keeping tech companies in Alabama; and enhancing existing opportunity zones.

Since the Senate amended the bill, HB 540 heads back to the House, which is expected to concur and send the legislation to the governor’s desk.

Read more about the bill here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn