Downtown Montgomery's future in legislature's hands - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Downtown Montgomery's future in legislature's hands

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A bill in the Alabama legislature that offers tax credits to downtown developers could help make downtown Montgomery grow even faster. 

That bill is up for a vote in the Senate when the legislature reconvenes.

Over the last few years downtown Montgomery has seen its fair share of development.

From the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center to Alley Station, Mayor Todd Strange hopes to keep the projects coming.

"It's another tool in the tool kit to help businesses get started," he says.

If approved in the legislature, the Alabama New Markets Development Act would give tax credits to businesses investing in low income communities, and downtown urban areas.

It's the state's version of a similar incentive already offered by the federal government.

Since developers are allowed to apply for both at once, it could increase the attraction of cities in states that offer them.

"You can get a $1.5 million from the federal government and $1.5 million from the state, all of a sudden the project pencils," says Strange.

Strange says there is a hotel company looking to locate downtown.

Its future depends largely on what happens with the bill.

"[It] would in fact be more likely to go forward if the tax credit was passed."

As with most any piece of legislation there are two sides. While many support downtown development, some wonder if tax credits for developers would result in less money going to the Education Trust Fund.

"People will go to work for them and we get our tax revenue back that way, but I don't think the corporation will pay enough back in," says Montgomery resident, Glen Cunningham.

"I just believe it's the exact opposite," says Senator Bryan Taylor.

Taylor doesn't believe it hurts Alabama schools.

"The more jobs you create, the more business that you attract to the state, the more income taxes you generate for education."

Louisiana and Mississippi also have the state tax credit. Montgomery development leaders believe their incentives have lured potential businesses there instead of investing in Alabama.

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