AAR Supported Legislation That Passed in 2017
June 14, 2017
Rep. Victor Gaston
Sen. Jabo Waggoner
- HB 345/SB 262, the Historic Tax Credit Bill, sponsored by Rep. Victor Gaston and 88 co-sponsors in the House and by Sen. Jabo Waggoner and 28 co-sponsors in the Senate, passed this year and has been signed into law! HB 345 was signed by Governor Ivey on May 24, 2017 and assigned Act No. 2017-380. It will renew the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program that expired on May 15, 2016, beginning on January 1, 2018 and expiring on December 31, 2022. The Historic Tax Credit helps revitalize cities and communities across Alabama. Studies show the credit has a huge economic impact and preserves historic structures in our state. The historic tax credit received a “B” rating from a study conducted by the University of Tennessee. Though comparable to the program that expired last year, the program would include a few modifications, including making the tax credits refundable and establishing a Historic Tax Credit Evaluating Committee to help the Commission determine reservations for the tax credits. In the previous program, the tax credits were not refundable and could only be used to lessen tax liability, and the Historical Commission made decisions on granting the credits, which were granted in order of receipt. The credit covers structures that are 60 years old or older, and the bill includes a provision that encourages rural communities to participate in the tax credit program. Forty percent of the tax credits will be reserved to taxpayers with a certified rehabilitation project located in a county where the population does not exceed 175,000. The rural counties would have six months to apply for the credit. In the event applications are not received, the funds would revert for allocations of other project applications.
- AAR issued a Call for Action in support of the Historic Tax Credit bill when it was pending final passage in the Senate. The Senate is where this legislation has had opposition the last two years. With a 17% participation rate, over 500 of our members contacted their Senator encouraging them to vote yes on the bill!
- SB 100/HB 281, by Sen. Jabo Waggoner and by Rep. Steve McMillan, was brought forward by the Alabama Real Estate Commission in response to the Supreme Court decision in the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, 135 S. Ct. 1101 (2015). This bill clarifies rulemaking authority of the Alabama Real Estate Commission, so it can adopt rules that prioritize consumer protection in real estate transactions. This bill provides that regulating the licensing of real estate brokers and salespersons includes prohibiting unqualified individuals from being licensed as a real estate broker or salesperson for the protection of the consumer. HB 281 was signed by Governor Ivey on May 26, 2017 and assigned Act No. 2017-396.
- SB 95, sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, will provide clarification to the procedure of excess funds from real estate tax sales. This bill provides that one uniform standard be applied to all excess funds currently held by a county, regardless of when the tax sale occurred and would allow county governments who hold unclaimed bids from unclaimed properties to utilize the excess funds. SB 95 was signed by Governor Bentley on April 3, 2017 and assigned Act No. 2017-130.
AAR Supported Legislation That Did Not Pass:
- HB 457, sponsored by Rep. Paul Beckman would amend the Landlord Tenant Act and require judges in eviction cases to set the case for a hearing within 45 days after the time to answer the complaint. Failure to do so would be grounds for a complaint against the judge that would be filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission with the possibility of sanctions.
- SB 229, by Sen. Trip Pittman, would have provided economic development opportunities to neighborhoods and communities and benefited home and business owners. Under current law, municipalities may create Neighborhood Infrastructure Authorities to collect voluntary assessments from both home and business owners to participate in neighborhood revitalization projects. SB 229 would have restored the tax credits for the 2017 through 2022 tax years, unless extended by the Legislature.
- SB 253, by Sen. Clay Scofield, would have encouraged private investment in broadband infrastructure through telecommunications companies, cable companies, and electric cooperatives in rural areas by amending the Alabama Renewal Act to provide a nonrefundable, transferable income tax credit equal to 10 percent of the investment in new qualified broadband telecommunications network facilities in rural areas, subject to a cap. This bill would have also provided a 10-year property tax exemption for new qualified broadband telecommunications network facilities in rural areas and an exemption from sales and use tax for equipment and materials used to operate any qualified broadband telecommunications network facilities.
- SB 157, by Sen. Cam Ward, related to costs in eminent domain condemnation proceedings. This bill would have provided that in a condemnation action by the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Department would pay the property owner’s reasonable attorney, appraisal, and engineering fees if the court's award to the property owner exceeds the department's last offer by 20 percent, excluding interest.
- HB 403, by Rep. Randy Davis, would allow riparian property owners to dredge on their property with the use of sand and sediment without paying a fee from the State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). Riparian property owners would only have to obtain a permit at no cost from the Departments. Under current law, DCNR and ADEM charge riparian property owners a fee for the use of sand and sediment to restore their shoreline.
- SB 283, by Sen. Smitherman, would have provided for updates to the Uniform Condominium Act. The last revision to the Act was in 1991. Since then, there have been many changes in the real estate market that have affected condos being developed, bought, sold and operated. SB 283 would have provided for those updates as well as needed clarifications for condo owners and developers.
- SB 264 and HB 484, by Sen. Trip Pittman and Rep. Arnold Mooney, would have amended the statute on the sale of land sold for taxes, allowing the Alabama Revenue Commissioner to contract with a credible auction company to sell lands sold for taxes at public auction. Only municipalities that have formed a local land bank authority by January 1, 2017 would be exempt from the auction process. This bill would have expedited the process of liquidating state lands.
- SB 44, by Sen. Hank Sanders, would have changed the method of computing the taxes paid on redeemed property to benefit the owner of the property. It would have reduced the interest paid on properties purchased at a tax sale from 12 percent to 8 percent.
- HB 567, by Rep. Kerry Rich, would have clarified the right of redemption period and would change the notice provisions relating to foreclosure of a homestead. HB 567 would have clarified that inadequate notice cannot extend the right to redeem beyond one year from the foreclosure date. The bill would also change the time period to bring an action related to notice from two years to one year from the date of foreclosure and would provide that the production of the proof of mailing notice constitutes an affirmative defense to any action related to the notice requirement.
- HB 72, by Rep. Chris Pringle, would have created the Alabama Cooperative Housing Corporation Act and would have authorized Cooperatives to claim a homestead exemption under certain conditions.
- HB 181, by Nathaniel Ledbetter, would have exempted small business owners from paying state property tax on business personal property when the value of the property is less than $20,000.
- SB 124, by Sen. Paul Sanford, would specify that an appeal of a final judgment or decision of a board of zoning adjustment would be required to be filed directly with the circuit court.
- HB 302, by Rep. Tim Wadsworth, would offer a business tax rate reduction. It would have reduced the state corporate income tax rate from 6.5 percent to 6 percent beginning with the calendar year 2019.
- SB 255, by Sen. Arthur Orr, would have authorized a landowner whose land is not contiguous to a natural body of water to use water for agricultural irrigation under certain circumstances and would apply to the Alabama River, the Tennessee River, and the Tombigbee River.