The Alabama Legislature convened at noon on Tuesday followed by the Gov. Kay Ivey’s State of the State address by Gov. Kay Ivey. Topics included a proposed raise for state employees and teachers, increased funding for pre-K programs and increased funding for universities and colleges.
Ivey added an additional $30 million for the Alabama Department of Corrections and she announced the Medicaid Agency is expected to need less money than previously anticipated.
SB 92 by NFIB member Sen. Arthur Orr (Decatur) passed Committee 12-0 and is on the Senate calendar.
SB 92 makes significant changes to the current unemployment law. The bill will reduce the maximum number of weeks that unemployment compensation benefits are payable from 26 weeks to the lesser of 14 weeks, or a maximum of 20 weeks, depending upon the average unemployment rate for any benefit year after Jan. 1, 2019.
It will allow a higher weekly benefit amount increasing from $265 to $275. The bill includes a 5-week extension for anyone who is enrolled in a state-approved training program. As estimated by the Legislative Fiscal Office, the bill would lower unemployment taxes annually by $42.1 million for Alabama business owners.
Veterans Employment Act Tax Credit
HB 83 by Rep. Connie Rowe (Jasper) unanimously passed the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
The bill encourages small businesses to hire unemployed veterans with a $1,000 tax credit for employers. The tax credit would require that each unemployed veteran is paid $14.00 an hour working on a full-time basis. Gov. Ivey’s “State of the State” address included remarks about the extension of the tax credits to small businesses who hire veterans.
State Income Tax Reduction
SB 76 by Sen. Del Marsh (Anniston) is an income tax reduction that would include an expansion of the adjusted gross income range for the maximum standard deduction.
Marsh said, “If you look at this income tax break, it really affects working-class Alabamians. The high-income folks don’t get anything on this one. It’s the working class and lower income “. The rates would include families and those filing individually.
Tax Rate Notification bill
SB 111 by Sen. Paul Sanford (Huntsville) is legislation recommended by the NFIB Tax Advisory Committee. The legislation would require local taxing jurisdictions to notify the Dept. of Revenue (DOR) 60 days in advance of implementing a tax change. In addition, allow relief for taxpayers from liability for incorrect tax collections if errors are made in reliance on rate information provided by DOR on behalf of local governments.
Currently, the notification is 30 days and taxpayers are held liable for filing a published incorrect tax rate.