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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner



in this issue:
House passes economic development bills - Montgomery Advertiser
Huntsville's Toyota engine plant awaits word on impact from plan to increase Highlander output - Huntsville Times
House approves incentives package - Montgomery Advertiser
BAE Systems in Anniston to refurbish armored vehicles for Iraqi military - Birmingham News
Thomasville mayor's push for growth helps solve Golden Dragon conundrum - Press Register









House passes economic development bills

12:17 PM, Feb. 9, 2012  |  

The House of Representatives passed a package of economic bills Thursday morning that extend tax breaks to the coal industry and aircraft parts manufacturers.


Republican sponsors touted the bills as job creators that would lead to economic development in the state, but Democrats claimed the legislation would take money away from state schools.


The coal mining bill, sponsored by Bill Roberts, R-Jasper, allows coal companies to apply for abatements on sales, use, mortgage, deed and non-educational property taxes, and allows companies to take advantage of an income tax capital credit. The credit allows businesses that make an investment of at least $1 million to claim five percent of their taxes against their income tax for up to 20 years.


Coal companies already qualify for tax credits for alternative coal plants, such as coal gasification, or for technology that would reduce carbon emissions. The bill passed would apply to all coal company investments.


"We in the coal mining areas depend on coal mining in state as a source of employment," said Roberts, who said many of the jobs were high-paying. "We're hoping to incentivize additional coal mining operations in the area."


The Legislative Fiscal Office's note to the bill did not include a cost estimate to the Education Trust Fund, which gets about 56 percent of its revenue from income taxes. Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, cited that fact in opposing the bill, and also said the state should not be paying to subsidize coal mine owners.









Huntsville's Toyota engine plant awaits word on impact from plan to increase Highlander output in Indiana
Published: Thursday, February 09, 2012, 11:15 AM     Updated: Thursday, February 09, 2012, 11:50 AM


By Marian Accardi, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times 
 HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Toyota said it will end production of the Highlander mid-size SUV in Japan by late next year, and, at the same time, increase output of the vehicle in Princeton, Ind. The move is expected to create about 400 new jobs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana.

Officials with Toyota's engine plant in Huntsville are waiting to find out what the Indiana facility expansion means for the plant here.


Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama in North Huntsville Industrial Park produces four-cylinder engines for the Highlander, which is assembled at the Indiana plant, said spokeswoman Tina Gess. "As of right now, Toyota is currently studying the impact on its two engine plants in North America" -- in Huntsville and Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia in Buffalo, W.V., Gess said.


The Huntsville plant started building four-cylinder engines last September.


Those engines are also installed in the Camry, RAV4, Sienna and Venza vehicles. The plant also produces V-6 and V-8 engines for Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks and Sequoia sport utility vehicles.


Last year, the Huntsville plant built 231,722 engines: 47,572 four cylinders, 81,645 V-6 and 102,505 V-8.







Huntsville Times  









House approves incentives package


12:50 AM, Feb. 9, 2012  |  Written by Brian Lyman

 House committees Wednesday passed a package of economic development bills, including a pair that would give the governor more power in awarding a particular tax incentive.


 The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Barry Mask, R-Wetumpka, would allow qualifying companies to apply for incentives that allow them to retain up to 90 percent of taxes withheld for employees to either start new projects or retain employees. 


 The company would have to invest at least $500,000 if the project is in an area governed by the Alabama Enterprise Zone Act, or $2,000,000 outside one. The governor would be able to approve the project based on written

recommendations from the directors of the Alabama Development Office and the Alabama Department of Finance -- both appointed by the governor -- without calling a special session of the state Legislature. Companies that qualify would not be eligible for a capital credit for the project. 


 Mask said the bill was needed to give the state an edge in recruiting businesses. 


 "We have lost some significant projects in Alabama in the last 18 months," he said. "We need this bill to compete."

The legislation had the support of representatives from Manufacture Alabama and the BCA, but was criticized by Henry Mabry, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association.





Montgomery Advertiser   









BAE Systems in Anniston to refurbish armored vehicles for Iraqi military
Published: Thursday, February 09, 2012, 9:48 AM     Updated: Thursday, February 09, 2012, 9:58 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Defense contractor BAE Systems said it is teaming with the Anniston Army Depot to refurbish 440 armored personnel carriers for duty in Iraq through a foreign military sales contract worth more than $31 million.

The work on the M113 vehicles includes replacing old and damaged equipment with updated components and restoring the vehicles to "fully mission capable" condition.


"The M113 refurbishment will give the Iraqi Army a capability which is relevant to a variety of threat environments," Joe McCarthy, vice president and general manager of combat vehicles at BAE Systems, said in a statement. "We have been exporting and doing upgrade work on M113s for decades. This new work builds upon our great partnership with Anniston Army Depot."


The refurbishment work will be completed by April 2012 and is being performed at the company's Anniston facility


Birmingham News








Thomasville mayor's push for growth helps solve Golden Dragon conundrum

Published: Wednesday, February 08, 2012, 5:13 PM     Updated: Wednesday, February 08, 2012, 5:17 PM

By Dan Murtaugh, Press-Register Press-Register  

MOBILE, Alabama -- Last year, shortly after Chinese copper giant Golden Dragon selected a 50-acre site in Thomasville for a copper tubing factory, Mayor Sheldon Day began looking for larger site for future industrial development.


Little did he know that the 280-acre site he found, just a few miles outside Thomasville's city limits, would help save the $100 million copper project from fleeing the area.


Late last year, Golden Dragon officials said their plans for future expansions had outgrown the Thomasville site, and they needed something three times as big.


"We said, 'Here's one right here,'" Day said. "One of the guys in the room said he was shocked I was able to pull a site right out of my back pocket."


This week, the company said that it would locate the facility at the second site, which is near Pine Hill in Wilcox County, aided by an incentives package valued at $200 million by state officials.



The operation will initially employ 300 people.



Press Register

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