Alabama State Sen. Slade Blackwell told Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce members last week that his focus for the next year will be passing legislation that benefits businesses.
He asked business leaders to contact him with what they recommend.
“I also look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature, as well as those who will be affected in my district, in putting forward a plan to address indigent care in Jefferson County,” Blackwell said.
Blackwell said he sponsored a bill that would save from $10 million to $20 million annually in indigent care in a plan that would sell Cooper Green Hospital and reduce its size and scope.
Although the state Senate approved it, the bill died without any action in the House
“If I could cuss, I would cuss,” Blackwell told the chamber members. “I am so frustrated.”
Other legislation he said he will work on next year will be finding a solution for the Jefferson County sewer and general fund debt and reducing the redundancies in state agencies to shrink costs. Blackwell also said he plans to propose reforming the Alabama Constitution, taking out what he calls “archaic language of banking.”
For business, Blackwell said he sponsored a bill in the last session that streamlines the payment system for sales taxes to the state, counties and many different municipalities. Since the bill sailed through the Alabama Legislature, starting in October 2013, businesses will be able to pay with one check, and the Alabama Department of Revenue will disburse the funds to each government jurisdiction appropriately.
The system for paying sales taxes in Alabama will be called “ONE SPOT,” an acronym for Optional Network Election for Single Point Online Transactions. Cities and counties are mandated to use the free system, but it is optional for business owners.
Other legislation that passed in the 2012 session gives a $1,000 credit to companies hiring military veterans returning from service. A $2,000 credit is given to the veterans when they start businesses.
Tax incentive bills were passed for data processing centers and some warehouses. Grants for film production in the state were increased.
The New Markets Development Act passed, which provides tax credits to investors to provide funding to businesses that locate in low-income communities. Blackwell said this will be a big help in rural communities.