Alabama Senate Passes Rural & Veterans Jobs Act

By Greg Reed

On Thursday, the Alabama State Senate passed the Alabama Veterans and Targeted Counties Jobs Act (House Bill 57), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) and Representative Elaine Beech (D-Chatom).

HB57 is a key part of the Senate Republicans’ “Paving a Path for the Future” agenda and is a complement to House Bill 58, the Alabama Jobs Act. The legislation extends additional incentives to businesses that create jobs in counties with under with population 25,000 people and to businesses that employ veterans.

“Our state economy is recovering, but we must do more to create the right business environment to attract new jobs, especially in the rural areas,” said Senator Majority Leader Reed. “The Alabama Veterans and Targeted Counties Act helps us achieve this goal by providing specific economic incentives for companies that create new jobs in our state’s more rural counties.”

Rural areas often suffer from a lack of economic development, particularly since the Great Recession of 2008. Senator Reed’s legislation offers additional help to counties with a population of under 25,000 people. If an eligible business is developing a project that is located in such a county, the threshold for receiving the 3% jobs credit under HB58 is lowered from 50 to 25 jobs, and the jobs credit is increased to 4% for wages paid to new employees. HB57 also establishes a rural development fund that will allow the State Industrial Development Authority to extend loans to help with site preparation work in low-income areas. The loan amounts would be capped at $2 million per project.

“We owe a debt to our military veterans, because these men and women offered their lives to protect our people. They often have served multiple tours of duty abroad away from their families and loved ones for months at a time,” remarked Reed. “Veterans also are some of the mostly highly skilled and professional leaders our society has. I’m proud to sponsor this legislation that encourages companies to hire our veterans.”

The Alabama Veterans and Targeted Counties Act recognizes the importance of veterans to Alabama’s workforce by providing additional incentives for companies to hire veterans for newly created jobs. The 3% jobs credit under HB58 will be increased to 3.5% for companies hiring veterans, if veterans fill at least 12% of the company’s new workforce.

Greg Reed is the Alabama Senate Majority Leader and represents Senate District 5, which is comprised of all or parts of Winston, Walker, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, and Fayette counties. He is vice president of Preferred Medical Systems, a representative of Samsung Healthcare. Sen. Reed and his wife, Mitsy, have three sons: Andrew, James, and John Michael.