Education officials sue over tax credit bills

Former Alabama Education Association president Anita Gibson is suing Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials over three Senate bills the AEA says could cost education $80 million a year.

The Gadsden Times reports ( that Gibson is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

At issue is the use of tax credits for industrial projects. AEA funding and revenue manager Susan Kennedy says that allowing use of the tax credits reduces Education Trust Fund Revenues.

The Senate bills were approved during the 2011 legislative session. They include a bill authorizing Bentley to approve tax credits to attract industry.

Montgomery attorney James Anderson said the plantiffs maintain that the legislation should have originated in the House because they consider the bills to be revenue measures.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard denounced the lawsuit calling it "outragious". He added, "Alabama's economy is hurting and our citizens need jobs. We looked for ideas to help jumpstart job growth, found a good one and worked in a bipartisan manner to enact it. We gave Alabama a tool no other state has to help create jobs. Any attempt to block this law is a slap in the face to every Alabamian out there looking for work.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)