There's no limit to what Republicans will try to pass off as a “jobs program.” These two bills would divert income tax revenue from the Education Trust Fund to employers. That's right, corporations could receive the income taxes paid by their employees — taxes that would normally go to fund Alabama schools. And who gets to decide which corporations reap the benefits of this taxpayer-funded windfall? The Governor. Period.
It's a license to steal from the education budget, and Republicans have broken it up into two bills, making it harder to understand. HB160 passed the Alabama House on Tuesday. It contains the gory details:
… to allow Alabama companies which undertake certain qualifying projects to retain a percentage of state income taxes withheld from eligible employees.
… the application of this act or the offering of any of its incentives as to any particular approved company shall be in the sole discretion of the Governor upon the written recommendation of the ADO Director and the Director of Finance.
HB159 is before the House today and Republicans are pulling out all the stops to pass it. This is a proposed constitutional amendment that will allow Republicans to divert money that would otherwise go to the Education Trust Fund into a slush fund under the guise of “job creation” incentives. This slush fund would hand millions in tax money to some of Alabama's biggest corporations without requiring them to create a single job.
Find your Representative by your zip code and ask them to vote no on HB159. Republicans are trying to get off the hook by saying a vote for HB159 is “just a vote to let the people vote” and doesn't indicate actual support for this giveaway. What a copout! We send them to Montgomery to decide issues, not to kick the can down the road to a statewide vote. The time to stop this cockamamie idea is now, not after an expensive referendum on a constitutional amendment.
An internal memo from House Republicans says it all: “[the bill would] divert from state coffers an unlimited amount of income taxes that would otherwise be deposited into the Education Trust Fund.”
They cut the education budget to the bone last year. Schools don't have enough textbooks, teachers are having to buy their own classroom supplies, the system has already lost hundreds of teachers. The education budget is facing a $23 million shortfall this year. And the Republican solution is to divert tax dollars from education directly to corporate coffers — for NO guaranteed job creation? In what universe does this make a lick of sense?
Contact your Representative right now. Ask them to support public schools by voting NO on HB159.