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Governor of Alabama Signs "Working for Alabama" Legislative Package To Create New Tax Incentives and Pathways for Workforce Development

On May 9, 2024, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey officially signed the “Working for Alabama” legislative package into law. This comprehensive set of bills represents a concerted effort to address key challenges facing the state's workforce, streamline economic development initiatives, and foster growth in both urban and rural communities.

Joined by a bipartisan coalition including Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth (R), Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R), House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R), Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D), House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D), and The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) President Helena Duncan, Governor Ivey heralded the package as a pivotal moment for Alabama's future.

“Our state leaders over the past few years have taken up several ambitious challenges to address Alabama’s top areas of need. And the results are paying out in dividends. From broadband to infrastructure to The Game Plan we passed last year and now, Working for Alabama, we have come together to put Alabama first and have paved the way for a stronger economy and a better quality of life for all Alabamians.” Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey (R-AL)

The “Working for Alabama” initiative is aimed at bolstering the state's labor force participation rate, which currently ranks among the lowest in the nation. By targeting barriers to employment and investing in workforce development programs, the legislation will work to equip more Alabamians with the skills and opportunities needed to secure high-paying jobs in the 21st-century economy. 

The “Working for Alabama” legislative package encompasses six measures, including:

  • Alabama Workforce Transformation Act (SB247): The Alabama Workforce Transformation Act includes renaming the Department of Labor to the Alabama Department of Workforce and changing the head's title to Secretary of Workforce. It establishes a new Alabama Workforce Board, replaces previous councils, mandates regional workforce boards, links budget requests to the Strategic Workforce Plan, and rebrands the Workforce Development Division to the Alabama Industrial Development and Training Institute. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Senator Steve Livingston (R) and was co-sponsored by Senators Barfoot (R), Elliott (R), Roberts (R), Chambliss (R), Kelley (R), Carnley (R), Hovey (R), Sessions (R), Stutts (R), Bell (R), Albritton (R), Melson (R), Scofield (R), Weaver (R), Allen (R), Butler (R), Orr (R), Chesteen (R), Shelnutt (R), and Gudger (R).
  • Alabama Growth Alliance Act (SB252): The Alabama Growth Alliance Act creates the Alabama Growth Alliance, a public corporation overseen by a board of public and private leaders. This alliance would coordinate the development, tracking, and support for the state's long-term economic development strategy, including annual objectives and key tactics. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Senator Greg Reed (R) and was co-sponsored by Senators Singleton, Barfoot (R), Butler (R), Weaver (R), Livingston (R), Figures (D), Chesteen (R), Allen (R), Jones (R), Price (R), Elliott (R), Williams (R), Melson (R), Carnley (R), Sessions (R), Roberts (R), Shelnutt (R), Waggoner (R), Smitherman (D), Coleman-Madison (D), Kelley (R), Givhan (R), Kitchens (R), Hovey (R), and Coleman (D).
  • Alabama Career Pathways Act (SB253): The Alabama Career (or Workforce) Pathways Act aims to enhance academic and skilled trades opportunities for students by introducing a career pathways diploma at the K-12 level. This diploma streamlines requirements for math and science credits, emphasizing career and technical education courses, and ensures eligibility for postsecondary education. Additionally, it seeks increased funding for career and technical education centers and the Alabama Short-Term Credential Program, effective from October 1, 2024. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Senator Donnie Chesteen (R) and was co-sponsored by Senators Carnley (R), Elliott (R), Allen (R), Kitchens (R), Butler (R), Barfoot (R), Jones (R), Shelnutt (R), Figures (D), Smitherman (D), Sessions (R), Williams (R), Kelley (R), Singleton (D), Livingston (R), Reed (R), Hovey (R), Roberts (R), Weaver (R), Waggoner (R), and Coleman-Madison (D).
  • Childcare Tax Credit (HB358): The Childcare Tax Credit bill seeks to alleviate Alabama's low labor force participation rate by offering tax credits for accessible childcare. This initiative responds to the significant need for affordable options, particularly highlighted by the Women's Foundation of Alabama, with an initial investment of $15 million in 2025 and a potential total investment projected to reach $82.5 million, aimed at supporting working families and boosting economic participation. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Representative Anthony Daniels (D) and was co-sponsored by Representatives Stadthagen (R), Drummond (D), Moore (D), Clarke (D), Hulsey (R), Moore (R), Boyd (D), Rafferty (D), Standridge (R), Lee (R), Blackshear (R), Chestnut (D), England (D), Travis (D), Jones (D), Warren (D), Hendrix (D), Hall (D), Ensler (D), Gray (D), Hassell (D), Lomax (R), Rigsby (R), Underwood (R), Wadsworth (R), Brinyark (R), Faulkner (R), Shaver (R), Wilcox (R), Almond (R), Collins (R), Wood (R), Morris (D), DuBose (R), Baker (R), Sells (R), Lovvorn (R), Hollis (D), McCampbell (D), Sellers (D), and Bracy (D).
  • Housing Tax Credit (HB346): The Alabama Workforce Housing Tax Credit is a state low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) for properties receiving federal 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTCs). The credit features a $5 million annual statewide cap and a $2 million annual project cap, with 20% to 25% of the cap reserved for rural properties each award cycle. Effective January 1, 2025, with a sunset application date of September 30, 2027, this move makes Alabama the 30th state, along with Washington, D.C., to implement a LIHTC program. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Representative Cynthia Almond (R).
  • Research and Development Corridors (SB336): This program allows municipalities to establish designated research corridors aimed at economic development. Spearheaded by Sen. Jabo Waggoner, the bill allows appointed boards to oversee these corridors, attracting sectors like biotech and advanced manufacturing. The corridors have the potential for significant economic growth, particularly in areas like south Birmingham, where collaborations such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Southern Research biotech initiative are underway. The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Senator J.T. Waggoner (R).

“Growing Alabama’s economy and creating more long-lasting, high paying, 21st century jobs ranks high among my top priorities.” He went on to say “That is why I created the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on 21st Century Workforce and asked members of the legislature and business community to work together in identifying our biggest obstacles and finding workable solutions. Signing the Working for Alabama package into law, represents a strong step toward more jobs, opportunities and prosperity for everyone who calls our state home.” Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, Will Ainsworth (R-AL)

Helena Duncan, President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, emphasized the importance of a forward-thinking approach to economic and workforce development, saying “In order to attract and grow 21st century jobs, Alabama must have a 21st century approach to economic and workforce development. This package creates a job-ready workforce by helping Alabamians identify their skills, talents, and goals and provides the tools necessary to cultivate and hone them. Working for Alabama was the result of a team effort that included Gov. Kay Ivey, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, legislative leadership, and our committed corporate partners like Alabama Power, who took the lead in making that vision a reality. This effort, and the hope and promise it represents, demonstrates that when Alabamians work together, we can overcome any obstacle, meet any goal, and create a better future for citizens across our state.”

© Copyright 2024. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. Ankura is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice

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