MONTGOMERY—Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary testified before the House Ways and Means Education Committee today in support of HB384, the Alabama Future Workforce Initiative, sponsored by Rep. Mac Buttram, R-Cullman.
The legislation would authorize limited tax credits for personal or corporate donations to a dual-enrollment scholarship program for high school students who take skill-training or academic courses in two-year schools. The legislation would cap the scholarship fund at $10 million, an amount that would allow 9,542 new students to participate in Alabama’s dual enrollment program. “Creating a scholarship program to increase the number of Alabama students who can participate in dual enrollment is a no-brainer,” Canary said.
The Business Council of Alabama supports the Alabama Future Workforce Initiative legislation because it will help students gain the skills and education that employers need. “The business community in Alabama is, by far, the largest consumer of the product created by our state’s school systems, so it is imperative that graduates possess the skills and education that the 21st century workplace demands,” said Canary.
The individuals and business that donate to the scholarship program will receive a state income tax credit of up to 50 percent of their total contribution. The tax credit cannot exceed 50 percent of the contributor’s total Alabama income tax liability and cannot be more than $500,000 per tax year.
A contributor will be able to direct up to 80 percent of his or her contribution to a specific program at a specific community college, with the remaining 20 percent retained by the community college system.
“If Alabama is to continue to attract the aerospace, automobile and rocket manufacturing facilities that have made us the envy of our sister southeastern states and the rest of the nation, and if we are going to foster our rapidly growing biotech, high tech and research industries into our economy of tomorrow, Alabama must provide our children the education and skills that those jobs demand,” Canary said.
The House Ways and Means Education Committee did not vote on HB384 today. The committee will meet on Thursday, February 6, 2014 to vote on the bill.
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly one million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 5, 2014
Contact: Nancy Wall Hewston (334) 834-6000