Legislature promoting job growth

By SLADE BLACKWELL / Guest Columnist

The 2012 legislative session convened on Feb. 7 and we are already off to a great start.

This past week, we passed important legislation that will promote job growth in Alabama. Like I’ve said before, economic development and job growth is one of my main priorities.

I hope to see more legislation this session aimed at creating ways to recruit new businesses to the state, while ensuring that we keep already existing businesses open and expanding.

Currently, I am working on bills that will provide tax incentives to companies that locate to Alabama. I hope that incentives like these will allow for more jobs and job opportunities for those who need it most.

As some of you may know, we launched an effort last year — the Initiative to Streamline State Government — to comprehensively review all aspects of state government and identify ways to run a leaner, smarter and more cost-effective operation. It is our hope that the end result will equate to maximizing each and every taxpayer dollar, as well as improving on how state services are delivered to Alabama citizens.

I am now serving as the legislative chair for a part of this initiative that has been tasked with studying Alabama’s corporate tax structure and regulatory practices. The group studying this issue is made up of experts from Alabama businesses and industries, state government and state universities and our goal is to determine how the state can maintain and nurture an optimal environment to protect existing jobs and attract new business and industry.

I am excited to be a part of this effort and believe we’ve already made great progress. We will be presenting our recommendations in the coming weeks. We fully expect to begin taking legislative action on the solutions in the current session.

Slade Blackwell is serving his first term in the Alabama State Senate, representing Jefferson and Shelby Counties in District 15.