5 Bills that Could Help Alabama Small Businesses

Date: March 15, 2017

There’s more good news for Alabama small business owners coming out of the 2017 legislative session: Two bills being considered could rein in taxes and fees.

Senate Bill 188

SB 188, introduced by NFIB member Sen. Arthur Orr, would significantly change current unemployment tax law. Currently, jobless workers are eligible to receive 26 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits at the maximum payment rate of $265 per week. Under the proposal, however, that amount would drop to between 14 and 20 weeks, depending on the average unemployment rate for any benefit year after Jan. 1, 2018. Fourteen weeks would be the minimum, with another week of benefits added for each 0.5 percentage point beyond an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, up to 20 weeks total.

This translates to a $56.2 million decrease in business owner costs for benefit payments funded by employer contributions. That savings amount would be slightly offset by the bill’s proposal to increase the weekly benefit amount by $10 (from $265 to $275), amounting to roughly $3.5 million.

SB 188 passed the Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee in late February.

House Bill 308

Issues with business delivery licensing have been a consistent complaint from NFIB/AL members over the years, and HB 308 would be a big help in addressing those concerns. Under this proposal from Rep. Paul Lee, the penalty for failing to apply for a business delivery license in a local taxing jurisdiction would be capped at $100. In doing so, the business delivery license penalty would match the 100 percent penalty provisions already on the books.

Additionally, other pro-business bills are on the move:

  • SB 216, which would require more advance notice for tax rate changes and would release taxpayers from liability for paying taxes at an incorrect rate published by the Department of Revenue or a local taxing jurisdiction, was approved unanimously by the Senate County and Municipal Government Committee.
  • SB 33, which would require state agencies to provide notification when proposed rules and regulations are being litigated in court, passed the Senate on a 31-0 vote and the House Commerce and Small Business Committee on a unanimous vote. At this writing, it was awaiting passage by the House.
  • NFIB/AL State Director Rosemary Elebash also testified before the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee in support of SB 66, which would provide an income tax credit for businesses with fewer than 75 employees that hire an unemployed veteran. SB 66 passed the Senate and is now in the House.

Related Content: Small Business News | Alabama | Economy

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