MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama House has passed a bill to give adoptive parents a $1,000 tax credit to make it financially feasible for more people to pursue adoptions.
The House voted 72-23 in favor of the bill Wednesday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Lee of Dothan, told the House about adopting a daughter and said he could afford the thousands in expenses, but some couples can't. He said the one-time income-tax credit would apply to a private intrastate adoption and the adoption of an Alabama foster child where both the birth mother and the adoptive parents are from Alabama. He said 523 foster children were adopted in Alabama last year, and his goal is to increase that number.
"The hope is to get children in a stable home," he said.
Lee said the bill would also save the state about $5,400 a year for each foster child adopted.
Two adoptive parents, Dennis and Cindy Weaver of Danville, visited the Legislature on Tuesday to encourage support for the bill. They said it won't help them because it is not retroactive, but they hope it will encourage others to adopt. The Weavers were foster parents for two brothers for about five years before adopting them in February. They said they decided to become adoptive parents after raising four biological children, who are now grown.
"It's the toughest job you'll ever love. But it's very rewarding," Cindy Weaver said while accompanied by 7-year-old Juan and 9-year-old Luis.
Legislative fiscal experts estimate the bill will apply to 2,500 adoptions per year and cost the state $2.5 million in tax credits.
Democratic Rep. Pebblin Warren of Tuskegee said the state needs to do something to help people who raise, but don't officially adopt, the children of relatives due to a death or addiction.
"The job is half done," said Warren, who helped raise her husband's siblings.
If Lee's bill becomes law, he said Alabama would join 16 states and the federal government in offering a tax break for adoptions.