House Speaker Mike Hubbard said today that three Business Council of Alabama-supported pro-business legislative items will get swift House action in the 2016 regular session that began today in Montgomery.
The BCA’s 2016 agenda includes support for HB 36, the Small Business Act sponsored by Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette, HB 37, the right-to-work constitutional amendment sponsored by Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham, and HB 38, the Taxpayer Advocate bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Tuggle, R-Alexander City.
HB 36 is on the Wednesday House Commerce and Small Business Committee agenda and HB 37 is on Wednesday’s House Constitution, Campaigns & Elections Committee agenda. HB 38 is on Wednesday’s House State Government Committee agenda.
All three are included in the House Republican Caucus’s 2016 legislative session priority list and are supported by the BCA. “We want to move our agenda quickly,” said Hubbard, the speaker at the first BCA Tuesday Meeting of the 2016 regular legislative session.
BCA Tuesday Meetings feature legislative leadership and administration officials who discuss topics of interest to Alabama’s business community. Today’s meeting was sponsored by Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Alabama.
HB 36 would provide a $1,500 income tax credit, or for banks a financial institution excise tax credit, for small businesses of 75 or fewer employees, for each qualified, new full-time employee. It also would authorize an additional $1,000 income tax credit if the new employee is a recently returning, unemployed veteran under the 2012 Heroes for Hire Act.
“Our challenge to you is to help us spread the word,” Hubbard said. “We need to educate businesses and CPAs to let them know that this is available.”
HB 37, the Right to Work constitutional amendment, if passed, would ask voters in November to approve Alabama’s status as a right-to-work state as a constitutional right. It would prevent labor organizations or companies from forcing or coercing potential or current employees from requiring them to join or not join a union as a condition of employment.
“This is one thing we can hold out there to tell industry that we’re friendly to business,” Hubbard said.
“It would make our status in the Constitution as a right-to-work state hard to change.”
HB 38 if it becomes law would shift the appointing authority of the Alabama taxpayer’s advocate from the Department of Revenue to the governor and remove the requirement that the advocate be a Department of Revenue employee.
A committee of government and business professionals would recommend candidates to the governor. The bill would require the Taxpayer Advocate to promote the interests of taxpayers and would require the Department of Revenue to maintain a public website for the Taxpayer Advocate separate from the revenue department.
Hubbard reviewed the success of last year’s business agenda and predicted this year’s regular legislative session will be a productive one as well.
“I can assure you that the pro-business legislation is designed to grow our economy,” Hubbard said. “This pro-business Legislature is doing the right thing for Alabama.”
BCA Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Blackwell presented Hubbard with the Business Champion Award on behalf of the BCA and the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.
The Business Champion Award recognizes legislators for their support of policies that better Alabama’s business climate and the lives of employees, families, and citizens.