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ADOL Releases More than $85 Million in Tax Credits to Employers

  • February 29th, 2016

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington announced today that nearly 33,000 Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) certifications, representing a potential $85,932,400 in tax credits, have been released in January by the Department to participating employers due to Congressional re-authorization of the WOTC program.

The WOTC program is a federally-funded program that provides incentives to businesses to hire individuals who have historically faced barriers to employment. Examples of WOTC eligible employees include: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients, Food Stamp recipients, youth, ex-felons, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Veterans, and those with disabilities, among others. Read More

Alabama House approves state income tax credit for small businesses

  • February 10th, 2016

The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday approved new legislation sponsored by State Rep. Kyle South, R – Fayette, that would provide a state income tax credit to small businesses for each new employee they hire.

The bill is included in the House Republican Caucus’s “Right for Alabama” legislative agenda that was announced prior to the session’s start, according to a release from the office of House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

“Over the last 20 years, small businesses have created more than 65 percent of all new jobs in our nation, but Alabama and other states have focused almost exclusively on providing incentives to industries and large employers,” South said. “By passing my bill, the Legislature can send the strong message that we care about small business owners and employees and understand and value the important role they play in Alabama’s economy.”
Under the new legislation, small businesses with 75 employees or less will be able to claim a $1,500 tax credit for each qualified, new, full-time employee hired.

The business may also claim an additional $1,000 tax credit if the new employee is an unemployed veteran recently returned from deployment. This credit comes as part of the Heroes for Hire Act passed by the legislature in 2012.
To qualify for the credit, businesses must retain the new employee for a consecutive 12-month period, and the employee must earn a salary of $40,000 a year or more. The employee must also be an Alabama resident in order to ensure that the credits are being used on behalf of Alabamians.

South said the state can now offer these credits with little or no loss of state budget dollars because the income taxes that these previously unemployed workers will begin to pay will offset the cost of providing the tax credit.
“Through whichever prism you view it, this bill is a win for small business owners, it’s a win for the newly-hired and their families, and it’s a win for the state,” South said.

To view the original article from the Birmingham Business Journal, click here.

AL House Republicans unveil agenda for 2016 session

  • January 29th, 2016

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) –
A sales ban on fetal body parts, small business tax credits, and Second Amendment protections are among a host of items unveiled Thursday as part of the Alabama’s House Republican Caucus’ upcoming legislative agenda. The Caucus is promising to use its supermajority status to focus on a host of issues and is branding its agenda “Right for Alabama”.

Agenda points focus on 11 specific issues. They include budgeting and pension reforms, school and student safety, small business tax credits, taxpayer protections, protections against Syrian refugee threats, teacher pay raises and classroom technology upgrades, a constitutional amendment to solidify the state’s ‘right to work’ status, and protections for gun owners and unborn children.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) and other House GOP leaders gathered to release the agenda at the Statehouse. The bills will get first priority in the upcoming session, which starts on Feb. 2.

Here’s exactly what the “Right for Alabama” agenda says about each specific point.

Zero-Based Budgeting Reform – In order to bring a new level of scrutiny, transparency, and accountability to the appropriations process, the Alabama House Republican Caucus will begin to implement a new “zero-based” budgeting system. This revolutionary new process will require state agencies to fully account for each dollar they receive, help identify ineffective programs that are in need of elimination, and potentially save or re-direct substantial amounts of taxpayer dollars.

Pension Reform – The Alabama House Republican Caucus will continue its efforts to ensure the long-term solvency and fiscal health of the Retirement Systems of Alabama while protecting and preserving the current level of benefits earned by existing retirees and employees.

Alabama Taxpayer Advocate Act – Under current law, the role of Taxpayer Advocate must be filled by an employee within the Department of Revenue who is selected by the commissioner and reports directly to her. In order to ensure fair and equitable treatment of Alabama taxpayers, House Republicans will offer legislation requiring the Taxpayer Advocate to be appointed by the governor from a pool of candidates recommended by a committee of government officials and business professionals. The advocate’s role and duties in protecting taxpayers’ interests would be expanded significantly under this measure.

Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit – During the past five years, Alabama has transformed into one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and the Legislature has worked to provide incentives necessary to lure thousands of new, high-paying jobs to our state. Small businesses, however, have created more than 65% of all new jobs over the past 20 years nationally. To encourage further job expansion within the state, Alabama House Republicans will propose a $1,500 income tax credit for every new, qualified employee hired by small businesses operating within the state.

Alabama’s Right To Work Constitutional Amendment – Although Alabama and many other southeastern states are firm right-to-work states, labor unions have stepped up their efforts to organize industrial facilities across the region after experiencing recent successes that include Volkswagen in Tennessee and Golden Dragon in Wilcox County. Alabama passed one of the nation’s first right-to-work laws roughly 60 years ago, but House Republicans believe it is time to enshrine that employment protection in our state constitution and will offer an amendment to be included on the November 2016 election ballot.

Protecting Public Safety from Syrian Refugee Threats – Recognizing the inherent risks that exist and lacking confidence in federal claims of thorough background checks, the Alabama House Republican Caucus will oppose any Obama administration effort to relocate masses of Syrian or other Middle Eastern refugees to our state. The possibility of even one “refugee” with a questionable background slipping through the system poses a danger to our public safety that Alabamians should not be forced to endure.

Preserving Second Amendment Constitutional Rights – The Alabama House Republican Caucus pledges to assist members of our federal delegation in overturning Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders attacking our Second Amendment right to own firearms.

School Security and Student Safety Task Force – Alabama schools have been extremely fortunate to avoid a violent situation like those that have occurred in other states, but we must continue looking for ways to improve school safety and ensure we are as prepared as possible to prevent or mitigate any situation that might arise. The Alabama House Republican Caucus will create a task force comprised of key education, law enforcement, and emergency management leaders from across the state and tasked with completing a comprehensive review and assessment of state laws, regulations, and protocols relating to security and student safety in our public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. The Legislature will consider the task force’s resulting recommendations for improvement.

Teacher Pay Raise – Recognizing their importance in preparing students for success in the 21st Century workplace, House Republicans will work to provide Alabama’s K-12 and post-secondary education personnel with a pay raise.

Wireless Infrastructure Renovation for Education (WIRED) Act – An extensive knowledge of operating computers will be required of everyone in the 21st century workforce, so today’s students must be proficient in the latest technologies. Three out of five schools in the United States currently lack the infrastructure needed to take advantage of wireless technology, and that number is believed to be even higher in Alabama. The WIRED Act proposed by House Republicans will create a framework for putting wireless broadband in all K-12 public schools by providing grants to local systems for the purchase, installation or upgrade of wireless infrastructure. Schools already possessing the necessary infrastructure may use the grants to purchase wireless devices and technology.

Unborn Infants’ Dignity of Life Act – Recent reports about outrageous acts by Planned Parenthood and its representatives have prompted public outcry regarding the organization and the cavalier practices it utilizes regarding unborn life. In order to ensure that these atrocities do not occur in Alabama, the House Republican Caucus will offer legislation banning the sale of the bodily remains of unborn infants.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

To view the original article, click here.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR ALABAMA’S SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS THIS YEAR

  • January 5th, 2016

Legislative session expected to address new tax credits, infrastructure problems.

The Alabama Legislative Session begins on Feb. 2, and there are several issues likely to be debated that will impact small business owners. Here’s a look at them.

HSA Tax Deduction

Legislation seeking to align Alabama’s income tax law to federal law with regard to health savings accounts—SB 9, HB 70 and HB 215—failed in the 2015 session, but is expected to resurface this year. These bills would give a state income tax deduction to those who make contributions to their HSAs to pay for healthcare costs.

Tax Rate Notification

Legislation on this topic—SB 322—also failed in the 2015 session, but we expect to see it again in the 2016 session. Under this bill, taxpayers would not be liable for collection and charge of incorrect tax rates based on the rate published by the Alabama Department of Revenue website. Local governments would have procedures with which to notify ADOR of rate changes, and these changes wouldn’t take effect until the first day of the third month following the notification. This would allow business owners time to update their bookkeeping for local and state changes and relieve them of penalties or interest for use of outdated rates.

Tax Credits

Two bills, which would give business owners tax credits for hiring veterans and for establishing an apprenticeship training program, are currently in draft form. “A trained and ready-to-work workforce is a priority for Alabama business owners,” says Rosemary Elebash, NFIB’s Alabama state director.

General Fund Cuts

Alabama legislators have stayed opposed to tax increases in the face of the state’s budget woes, and as a result of this and rising costs, cuts to the General Fund are expected this year, the Montgomery Advertiser reported last month.

The chairs of the Legislature’s General Fund committees, Representative Steve Clouse and Senator Trip Pittman, told the Advertiser that level funding in the budget was an optimistic best-case scenario.

In the current budget, Medicaid, Corrections, Mental Health, Human Resources and Pardons and Paroles were shielded from cuts, but Sen. Pittman says he doesn’t think any agency would get protection this year. Budget committees will hold budget hearings this month in preparation for the beginning of session.

Infrastructure

Alabama earned a C- for its infrastructure system of roads, bridges, ports, railroads, airports and more, according to an assessment recently conducted by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

ASCE studied 11 infrastructure categories, grading each individually:

Aviation (B-)

Bridges (C-)

Dams (N/A—Alabama has no dam safety program)

Drinking water (C+)

Energy (B)

Inland waterways (D+)

Ports (B-)

Rail (B-)

Roads (D+)

Transit (D)

Wastewater (C-)

“Whether you’re driving across roads and bridges, taking a shower, or charging your cell phone, infrastructure affects everyone in Alabama,” the study says. “Infrastructure also impacts our businesses and helps move our economy, taking freight from ports to store shelves and taking workers to their jobs.”

Proposals to solve this growing problem are expected to be debated in session, starting next month.

For the original article from NFIB click here

SURVEY: Record number of shoppers gearing up for Small Business Saturday

  • November 23rd, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Rosemary Elebash, 334-264-2261, or Todd Pack, 615-872-5897

MONTGOMERY, Nov. 18, 2015—Black Friday might be the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but a survey released today by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express shows that a record number of shoppers plan to shop local on Small Business Saturday.

The survey said a record 55 percent of U.S. consumers are aware of Small Business Saturday, while 83 percent say Small Business Saturday makes them want to shop local and shop small all year long.

“That’s really encouraging,” said Rosemary Elebash, Alabama state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “When you shop local and shop small, you’re supporting your community. When you shop at a chain store, most of the money goes back to some corporate office somewhere else, but when you support small, most of that money stays here at home.”

According to the fourth-annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey:

  • 80% of consumers are willing to pay slightly more for an item if it is purchased from a small, independently-owned retailer as opposed to online or at a large retailer
  • On average, consumers are planning to do 35% of their holiday shopping at small businesses
  • 45% of consumers who expect to shop on the day plan to spend more on Small Business Saturday this year than they spent last year
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers who plan to shop on Small Business Saturday are motivated by the contributions that small businesses make to their community

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for most of the jobs in this country, and small businesses create most of America’s net new jobs.

“You probably don’t know the owner of a big department store, but there’s a good chance you know a few small-business owners,” Elebash said. “They’re your friends and neighbors. They’re some of the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools and virtually every other form of community activity. They’re what make our communities strong.”

What’s more, small businesses often sell merchandise—and provide a level of service—that you simply can’t find at a chain store, she said. “Instead of dealing with temporary workers who don’t know the merchandise, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing directly with the owner who cares very much about making you happy so you’ll come back time and again throughout the year.”

The Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,847 males and females 18 years of age or older. The sample was collected using an email invitation and an online survey. The study was conducted anonymously by independent marketing performance specialist Ebiquity on October 19-27, 2015. The survey has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.3%, at the 95% level of confidence. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/1MBv1QC

To learn more about what NFIB is doing to help small businesses promote the sales event, visit www.NFIB.com/smallbusinesssaturday.

###

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

 

Contest offers Alabama businesses a shot at ‘game-changing’ exposure at UA & AU games

  • November 20th, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) has released a video detailing the ways their “Small Business Game Changer” could genuinely change the game an Alabama small business.

A first-of-its-kind opportunity, the BCA is awarding a complimentary 2016 football sponsorship package for both the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Season football sponsorships offer enormous exposure for companies fortunate enough to land one, and BCA aims to“proudly recognize the importance and impact of small businesses on our state.”

“This contest is truly unprecedented and will be a game changer,” said BCA Presdient and CEO William J. Canary.

Corporate sponsor benefits will include hospitality, game tickets, in-stadium logo exposure, radio time and more.

University of Alabama Corporate Sponsorship Benefits:
• One 15-second pre-game and one 15-second post-game radio commercial on the Crimson Tide Sports Radio Network for the 2016 regular season (24 total commercials)
• LED recognition in Bryant-Denny Stadium for all seven home football games
• 300,000 impressions on RollTide.com during the regular 2016 schedule
• One half-page program ad
• Two season tickets, two corporate hospitality passes and one parking pass

Auburn University Corporate Sponsorship Benefits:
• One (1) 2016 half-page color advertisement in Auburn Football Illustrated
• One (1) Auburn Football Pre-Game Show radio spot before each 2016 regular season game
• 300,000 banner advertisement impressions on AuburnTigers.com during the 2016 football regular season
• Pro-Ad LED Ribbonboard exposure inside Jordan-Hare Stadium during 2016 football regular season home games
• Two (2) football season tickets and two (2) IMG Pre-Game hospitality passes for the 2016 regular season

Small businesses can apply by going online to BCA’s contest website and share in 150 words or less why a 2016 Alabama or Auburn football sponsorship would be a game changer for their small business by the application deadline on Jan. 29, 2016.

The “Small Business Game Changer” contest is open only to small businesses located in the state of Alabama that are BCA members in good standing.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to expose a deserving Alabama small business to fans and the campus community through association with Alabama football,” said Jim Carabin, general manager for Crimson Tide Sports Marketing. “We’re grateful to the Business Council of Alabama for graciously extending this offer and working closely with us to bring it to life. It will bring huge visibility to one company, and we encourage all applicable small businesses to register.”

For more information on the “Small Business Game Changer” contest, visit www.bcatoday.org/football.

 

For the original article click here.

Small town Alabama business is a top 10 finalist to win an ad during Super Bowl 50

  • November 3rd, 2015

SELMA, Ala. — Robert Armstrong is owner of G Mommas Cookies, and one of 10 finalists competing in the Small Business Big Game competition by Intuit QuickBooks. The national competition could provide this small southern cookie business the chance to appear in a prime time commercial during NFL Super Bowl 50 next year.

To vote for G Mommas Cookies before Nov. 3, visit smallbusinessbiggame.com.

The commercial for the winning entry, valued at $4.5 million is set to air during the “Big Game” on Feb 7, 2016. Last season’s Super Bowl audience averaged 114.4 million viewers, making it the most watched broadcast in U.S. history.

Armstrong has already said business has picked up since the announcement.

“I’ve gotten a lot of PR just regionally and state-wide just because of the competition,” Armstrong said. “It’s just such a big opportunity, people have really grabbed on to what this would mean for my business and what kind of big deal it is. From that I’ve really seen a sales pickup. It’s been crazy.”

With Armstrong getting the message out to go vote online for his business, other local businesses have come to aide Armstrong promote his store. Selma City Councilwoman Angela Benjamin sponsored a cookies and cream social on Oct. 26 at Sweet Advantages, a local ice cream shop.

“We wanted to promote G Mommas Cookies, so we thought cookies and cream,” said storeowner Towanda Friday. “Ice cream and cookies go good together. They are good cookies, and Robert is a good guy.”

Armstrong will be flown out to California to find out the winner of the competition on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“It really probably hasn’t hit me yet,” Armstrong said. “When I get to California, I’m going to be a nervous wreck, because if I get it — it will change my life.”

Though he understands the potential effects of winning such a national competition, Armstrong still remembers his hometown and reasons why he started his business in the first place.

“The reason I started this business is to make an impact on my hometown not only tangibly, but also intangibly by showing people that you don’t have to live in a big city to start a business and be successful on a national scale,” said Armstrong. “My roots are in Selma and it is apart of who I am, and one of my passions is to see it revived and improve economically.”

To vote for G Mommas Cookies before Nov. 3, visit smallbusinessbiggame.com.

Find the original story here.

Alabama listed among the most tax-friendly states

  • October 2nd, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Washington, D.C-based finance and business magazine Kiplinger recently named Alabama among the most tax friendly states in the nation.
Though the state has been embroiled in its own battle over whether or not to raise taxes to increase revenue, it still remains one of the lowest-tax states on net.

Coming in at #5, Kiplinger noted Alabama’s low income, sales, and property taxes, but also mentioned the relatively uncommon practice of taxing groceries.

State income tax: 2% (on income up to $500/individual, $1,000/joint) – 5% (on income of more than $3,000/individual, $6,000/joint)

State sales tax: 4%

Gas taxes and fees: 21 cents per gallon

Alabama’s property taxes are the second-lowest in the U.S. (Hawaii has the lowest on a percentage basis, helped by the sky-high value of property there.) Median tax on the state’s median home value of $122,700 is just $532.

It doesn’t take much income to find yourself in the state’s top income tax bracket, where a 5% rate kicks in for those making as little as $3,000 for single filers and $6,000 for married couples. However, the Yellowhammer State allows residents to deduct all federal income tax from state taxable income.

While the state sales tax rate is a modest 4%, additional levies from state and local jurisdictions boost the average combined rate to 8.9%, among the highest in the U.S. And unlike most states, Alabama doesn’t exempt food from its sales tax. Prescription drugs and insulin-related items are exempt.

Here are the top 10 most tax-friendly states, according to Kiplinger:

Delaware
Wyoming
Alaska
Louisiana
Alabama
Mississippi
Arizona
New Mexico
Nevada
South Carolina

Article by Elizabeth Beshears, original link here.