House Speaker Promises Business Support in 2018 Legislative Session

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon today in the first Tuesday morning briefing of the 2018 regular legislative session said support of important business initiatives affecting taxes, jobs, and education will continue.

McCutcheon, R-Huntsville, said he has reviewed the Business Council of Alabama’s 2018 Perspective of issues and “realized we are working together with the BCA because when we look at pro business legislation and the things we have done this quadrennium, we do have a pro-business Legislature that’s working with you.”

“We want to continue that effort,” McCutcheon said.

The BCA Governmental Affairs Committee holds Tuesday briefings each week during regular legislative sessions that feature state leaders. Future briefings this session will begin at 9 a.m., a departure from the past 8:30 a.m. start time.

Next Tuesday’s briefing speaker is scheduled to be Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston.

McCutcheon was introduced by Jeff Rabren, senior vice president, state government affairs & economic development director for Regions Financial Corp., the sponsor of today’s briefing.

The 2018 session officially begins at noon today with Governor Kay Ivey delivering the State of the State address. Alabama Public Television has allotted 90 minutes beginning at 6 p.m. to her address and the session preview.

McCutcheon said pro-business legislation he expects to be introduced will include tax credit tweaks, updates to the Jobs Act “to try to keep us competitive,” pre-K through higher education support, and, possibly, rural broadband legislation. “We want to make sure we address those issues,” he said.

Being an election year, McCutcheon said he plans to ask candidates for the House not to sign “no-new tax” pledges in preparation for next year when infrastructure investment will be front and center.

McCutcheon said that the House, Senate, and Governor Kay Ivey are working together to produce sound budget decisions both for this fiscal year and the 2018-19 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

“This is refreshing,” he said. “We sit down and talk about issues.”

Budgets deserve monitoring because they can affect business decisions and education funding that prepares students for rewarding careers.

McCutcheon said he expects a $30 million supplemental appropriation to state prisons in this year’s General Fund budget and another $50 million in next fiscal year’s budget to deal with mental health and prison staffing.

Another General Fund issue will be potential funding for ALL Kids, the Children’s Health Insurance Program for Alabamians under age 19. Congress has voted to continue CHIPs funding and it will not be terminated on Feb. 1.

McCutcheon said the Legislature will be poised to act should Congress not pass full, long-term funding for CHIPs.