News & Updates

February 10, 2012

Session Updates

SESSION NOTES:
Week 1

State lawmakers kicked off this year’s Regular Session of the Legislature on Tuesday by submitting more than 420 bills on the first day of the session which will run until May 21st.

Legislators heard from the Legislative Fiscal Office that this year’s $1.87 billion General Fund budget for state agencies is not taking in revenue fast enough and looks like it will be $171 million in the red. That would require the governor to order across-the-board cuts of 9 percent to balance the budget.  The administration is looking for ways to save money in efforts to lower the proration to 4 percent.  A decision from Governor Bentley is expected by the end of the month.

Passing Budgets for the General Fund and Education Fund for FY 2012-13 will be another challenge. Without tax increases or other new revenues, projections are that the General Fund will raise about $1.34 billion next year, $367 million less than this year’s expected revenues.

In its first week, the House concentrated on economic development. They passed a package of bills aimed at creating new jobs in Alabama. 

HB154 Passed and goes to Senate.  The Alabama Data Processing Center Economic Incentive Enhancement Act would “expand the scope of certain tax incentives in order to focus on recruiting more data processing centers in Alabama.” 

HB159 “The Alabama Job Creation and Retention Act.”  The bi-partisan bill calls for more flexibility with tax incentives to industries outside the state that might move to Alabama, and those inside the state that could move away.  It is a Constitutional Amendment that would allow voters to authorize the use of tax incentives to recruit major projects to Alabama.  Carried over on the Calendar.

HB160 Passed and goes to Senate.  Sets parameters on how the incentives can be used to insure a return on the state’s investment. 

The House approved HB151 changing the name of the Alabama Development Office to the Alabama Department of Commerce. Goes to Senate.

HB39 Passed and goes to Senate.  Exempts aircraft parts and certain aviation components from sales tax, providing a special tax incentive allowing the state to recruit aircraft manufacturers.

HB152 “Heroes for Hire” Tax Credit Act passed unanimously out of the House Education Ways and Means Committee and is on the House Calendar. The bill would give businesses an additional $1,000 tax credit (matching a current $1,000 tax credit) for hiring veterans who were recently deployed to war and returned home.

The House adjourned without voting on a proposed constitutional amendment to allow businesses in some cases to use employee withholdings for expansion. It will be on the House calendar again Tuesday

SENATE:
Passed a bill creating a tax credit of up to $8,000 for farmers who install new irrigation equipment. Goes to House.

Approved a bill creating $10,000 scholarships for nursing students seeking a graduate degree. Goes to House.

Passed a measure requiring the Alabama Commission on Higher Education to charge fees reviewing programs by out-of-state education providers.  Goes to House.

Approved a bill to allow cyclists to use their right hand to signal a turn. Goes to House.

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