After hearing predictions for moderate economic growth and no recession in 2008 for Alabama, Gov. Bob Riley last week called on state lawmakers to support tax relief.

The state’s economy grew by 2.3% in 2007 and is forecast to grow by 2.2% in 2008 and 2.8% in 2009. More than 21,000 new jobs are expected to be created in 2008 and another 23,000 in 2009, according to the economic outlook report by the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

“There’s no doubt the growth of the economy has slowed down as it has across the nation, but it is still growing,” Riley said in a statement. “Fortunately, all signs right now point to continued economic growth and more new jobs in Alabama. The state’s housing market is in better shape than the nation.”

Riley said the economic outlook is generally positive for Alabama and it appears the state will fare better than much of the country.

“Still, we can’t let this positive report blind us to the many challenges and uncertainties ahead,” the governor said. “The national downturn in the housing market and high energy prices are hitting Alabamians in the wallet.”

Although he did not release specifics, Riley said lower- and middle-income families need tax relief and that would also stimulate economic growth.

The governor is expected to release more details during his state of the state address on Feb. 6, at which time he also will release his recommended budget for fiscal 2009. The legislative session begins Feb. 5 and runs through May 19.

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