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Last updated 9:02AM ET
March 5, 2021
Corporate Tax Debate Block Senate Budget Work
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Extended debate over a bill to rewrite a law concerning corporate income tax collections is blocking the Alabama House from passing a $6.3 billion budget to fund education.

The House, for the second day in a row, debated the corporate income tax bill that would provide about $67 million to help balance the cash-strapped education budget.

The House adjourned Thursday evening without taking a vote on the corporate income tax measure.

Republicans used delaying tactics to prevent a vote on the bill. GOP members said they were concerned the measure would unfairly require some businesses to make back tax payments.

"This legislation is damaging and will be far reaching in the business community," said Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Semmes.

The House Education Appropriations Committee earlier Thursday approved a bill pushed by Republican Gov. Bob Riley to offer a tax break to small businesses that offer health insurance to employees. Committee passage of that bill was part of a proposed compromise between Republicans and Democrats that was expected to help break the political logjam.

But debate continued throughout the day on the corporate income tax bill.

The insurance bill would also give a tax break to small business employees who pay part of the cost of their insurance. It would apply to businesses with less than 25 employees.

Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, chairman of the education appropriations committee, said the bill would help small businesses.

"We're talking about additional help for the poor people in this state who are trying to pay for their health insurance," Lindsey said.

House Speaker Seth Hammett said he hopes the House will be able to resolve the dispute and pass the education budget next week.

House members often spend their days talking to lobbyists, but on Thursday faced some of the smallest lobbyists. Dozens of four-year-olds were brought to the Statehouse to help gain support for Riley's proposal to add an additional $20 million in funding for pre-kindergarten programs. The current budget being considered by the House adds $10 million for the program above what is being spent in the current year.

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