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Ivey, legislative leaders roll out four-bill ‘game plan’ on economic incentives

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gov. Kay Ivey and top legislative leaders highlighted their long-teased economic incentive improvement plan Monday during a press conference at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium. The four-bill package is expected to be introduced soon in the Legislature.

Known as “The Game Plan,” the economic incentive package would renew existing economic incentive programs, introduce a new industrial site incentive program known as the SEEDS Act, specifically target small, rural businesses with economic incentives, and require online publication of the amount of incentives developments receive.

Ivey was joined at the press conference by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, State Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville – all of whom endorsed the package and encouraged its swift passage. Also on hand was Ivey’s chief industrial recruiter, Department of Commerce Director Greg Canefield, whose office has been crafting the bills for months. 

“Alabama is working; let’s keep it that way by implementing The Game Plan,” Ivey said about the package of bills. “We cannot predict what the economy of tomorrow will be like, nor can we say what it will be in five years, so we must create stability by moving this forward. I’m urging our legislators to pass The Game Plan legislation, and by the looks of it, they’re all on board.”

Gov. Kay Ivey reveals the details of “The Game Plan” economic incentive package in Montgomery.

The legislation has not yet been made public, but according to Ivey’s office and the Alabama Department of Commerce, they have four separate focuses:

Enhancing Alabama’s Economic Progress Act

  • This bill would renew the Alabama Jobs Act and the Growing Alabama program and extend their sunset dates to 2028. Passed in 2015, the Jobs Act is set to sunset this year unless renewed by lawmakers. It gives companies tax rebates for eligible payroll taxes paid the previous year. The bill is expected to raise the annual incentive cap from $350 million to $375 million. Also set to sunset this year, the Growing Alabama program offers tax credits to companies as an incentive for the development of certain infrastructure and capital improvement projects.

Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy Act (SEEDS)

  • Inside Alabama Politics previously reported this act will allow the State Industrial Development Authority to issue grants to help fund site development. Sites would have to have at least 200 contiguous acres. Local financial participation in the development would be required, but on a sliding scale so that smaller, rural communities would contribute less than larger ones.

Innovation and Small Business Act

  • According to Ivey’s office, this act aims to “supercharge growth in Alabama’s innovation economy and support underrepresented businesses and enterprises in rural areas, transforming the state into a hub for technology and innovation.”
  • IAP previously reported the act would create a $25 million Innovating Alabama Tax Credit to encourage the development of small tech-related and innovative industries.

Enhancing Transparency Act

  • Amends the Jobs Act to require the Alabama Department of Commerce to publish eligible incentivized project information online to “serve a valid public service and increase confidence in the process.”

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Jobs Act has brought $22 billion in new capital investment and 40,000 jobs to the state since it took effect in 2015, with 6,000 of those jobs landing in rural counties. In 2022 online, Commerce found that economic incentives brought $10 billion in capital investment, setting a new annual record.

It’s that success, Canfield said during the conference, that compelled him and others to fully support expanding the state’s economic incentives.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that Alabama’s economic development efforts have brought world-class companies to our state,” Canfield said. “These changes are designed to strengthen both the Jobs Act and Growing Alabama, and to position them with a future focus to move Alabama’s economy in its forward trajectory.”

Following the conference, Singleton said he was particularly excited about the Innovation and Small Business Act and its targeted approach toward rural areas of the state.

“This game plan is a full game plan to address issues of job recruitment across the entire state,” he said. “This game plan, for the first time, would be totally inclusive (and) would include women, minorities, veterans, rural areas, so this is a comprehensive game plan.”

Singleton said that the four bills would be filed on Tuesday, and that they would be the No. 1 priority for the Legislature this week.

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