Bentley’s jobs creation passed by Ala. Legislature

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 2010

MONTGOMERY (AP) — A candidate for governor got a job creation bill passed by the Legislature.

The Senate voted 26-0 Tuesday for final passage of the bill by Republican Rep. Robert Bentley of Tuscaloosa. It passed the House earlier and now goes to Gov. Bob Riley. The governor’s press secretary, Todd Stacy, said Riley is expected to sign it into law.

The bill, called the “Reemployment Act of 2010,” is supposed to help lower Alabama’s 11.1 percent unemployment — the state’s highest rate in 26 years.

The bill would allow businesses to take a state income tax deduction of up to 50 percent of the gross wages paid to any person currently drawing unemployment benefits or whose benefits have expired.

The one-time deduction could be claimed after a worker has been on the payroll for a year. No job paying less than $10 per hour would qualify.

Other tax break bills for new jobs were introduced by lawmakers when the Legislature convened in January, but they have not been as successful as Bentley’s. The Republican candidate said he worked to get bipartisan support in the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

“This will be the only job stimulus bill passed out of the Legislature. We have worked on a bipartisan basis to put 5,000 to 6,000 people back to work,” he said.

Bentley said he’s also hopeful the bill will help him in the crowded Republican primary for governor on June 1.

In addition to passing Bentley’s bill, the Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would speed up income tax refunds by the state Revenue Department and require the payment of interest to taxpayers if the department takes more than 30 days. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Zeb Little, D-Cullman, now goes to the House for consideration.