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Even with Republicans enjoying commanding majorities in both houses of the Legislature, it’s still useful to cross the aisle for on issues that matter to all Alabamians.
State Rep. Barry Mask (R-Wetumpka) joined with a pair of Democrats this week to get a job-incentive bill passed he hopes will attract foreign manufacturers to the Heart of Dixie.
Mask had introduced the “Made in Alabama” bill, which offsets federal tariffs for companies willing to boost the state’s job market, a few weeks ago.
The House passed it this week, but with the clock ticking down on the 2011 regular session, the House compromised Thursday by passing the Senate version sponsored by Sen. Marc Keahey (D-Grove Hill).
“There are no party labels when it comes to creating jobs,” said Mask, who chairs the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee. “I’m proud to sponsor this bill with Sen. Keahey because I believe it will allow Alabama to do something truly significant in economic development.”
Mask said the only real difference in the two bills was that Keahey’s version demanded a longer committment to Alabama workers from the foreign firms that take advantage of the incentive.
That’s fine, Mask said, because “no (company) is going to make a $100 million investment in a plant and then pull out after three years.”
Mask said the incentives bill puts Alabama “in play” for companies in several Asian countries -- such as China, Korea and Singapore --that want to get closer to their markets.
“Attracting new businesses that will create jobs and spark economic growth is my top priority,” Keahey said. “This bill sends a message to companies around the world that Alabama is open for business.”
The House of Representatives took up a version of the bill, dubbed the “Made in Alabama” Job Incentives Act, sponsored by Mask.
Mask said he was proud to work in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation that can bring jobs to Alabama.
Mask also thanked a democratic colleague in the House, Tuscaloosa Rep. Alan Harper, for helping push the legislation through.
“In this economy, we have to think outside the box when it comes to recruiting jobs, and this proposal is the perfect example of that,”Mask said.
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