This week, Gov. Robert Bentley proposed a jobs plan that would offer a $1,000 tax credit to small businesses for every new employee they hire. The plan even defines "small business," something one rarely sees in political rhetoric. (For purposes of the bill, a small business is one with fewer than 50 employees.)
Bentley's proposal, the Full Employment Act of 2011, is based the Alabama Reemployment Act of 2010, which Bentley sponsored last year. Bentley made much use of the 2010 act during his gubernatorial campaign, saying his bill brought 5,000 jobs to the state.
Here's the kicker: we still don't know if that 5,000-job estimate is correct. Bama Fact Check looked into the claim
last year. Tuscaloosa News reporter Brian Reynolds found that Bentley's numbers were based on a good estimate -- 4,600 jobs were created in Alabama by a similar federal program -- but noted that we won't really know the full impact until businesses file their tax returns this year.
Well, those returns are still not in, as The Anniston Star noted today
. And, by extension, we don't know how much the program has cost the state, in terms of lost revenue.
Mind you, no one is saying Bentley's tax credits won't
create jobs. In fact, the business community has welcomed both the 2010 and 2011 bills. But it turns out to be fairly hard to quantify just how much good any one reform has done.