Tax incentives bill heads to Senate

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The State House of Representatives passed a key component of the governor's jobs and economic agenda.  A proposed constitutional amendment would allow certain companies to keep a large amount of the state income tax withheld from their employees.

Supporters at the State House said the amendment is needed to help create and keep jobs in Alabama.

Lawmakers cheered as the constitutional amendment reached the 63 vote threshold needed for passage.  It came after a fierce debate over the impact the law could have on the state's Education Trust Fund.  Both sides accused the other of partisanship.

"We're trying to accomplish the same thing," said Rep. Craig Ford, the House Minority Leader.  "I think we're trying to pit one another against each other about creating jobs."

"This is about jobs, and creating jobs for the people of Alabama," said Rep. Mike Hubbard, Speaker of the House.  "And it's really unfortunate that forces in this state made it political."

Governor Robert Bentley appeared on the House floor to personally lobby lawmakers to pass the amendment.

"If you don't have a job, you don't have any taxes going to the Education Trust Fund," Gov. Bentley said.  "So we have to create jobs. I want to thank the house for doing this, now we have to get it through the Senate."

Republicans said they're prepared for another tough battle.

"Based on the success in the House, the pressure is now on in the senate," said Sen. Phil Williams, R- Rainbow City.  "And we'll get that done."

The bill will now head to a senate committee, before the full senate votes on it.  If it passes, it will be on the ballot in November.

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