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State House OKs more incentives to lure plant

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House approved a package of incentives and tax breaks Thursday aimed at sweetening what’s already been offered to lure a massive steel plant to South Alabama.

The House voted 102-0 for the legislation that would give large employers a 10-year break on paying utility taxes, an enhanced 20-year break on property taxes that don’t go to education and an income tax credit for 30 years that would allow large industries to repay the cost of building plants.

The sponsor, Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, said he hopes the bill will be the final push needed to encourage German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG to locate its new plant at a
site about 25 miles north of Mobile.

Lindsey’s bill would apply to any new company locating in the state that would invest at least $2.5 billion and employ 2,000 or more workers. The $2.9 billion ThyssenKrupp plant is expected to employ about 2,700 workers.

The legislation is supported by Gov. Bob Riley and lawmakers have given it priority at a time when the German company is believed to be nearing a decision on whether the plant will be located in Alabama or Louisiana.

Bill goes to Senate

The bill now goes to the Senate. Senators delayed a dispute over rules that has caused a session-long slowdown Thursday to accept the bill and assign it to a committee. Sen. Pat Lindsey, D-Butler, whose district includes the proposed plant site, said the timing of passing the measure is critical.

The House voted 91-5 to amend the bill to require that industries receiving these incentives hire full-time employees, who receive benefits such as health insurance.

“This means that Alabama workers will be able to take care of their families and live in a decent place,” said Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, sponsor of the amendment.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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