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Inside the Statehouse: What was Gov. Bentley likely to introduce to legislature?

By Steve Flowers The first legislative session of the quadrennium convened this week. It’s no secret that the state is broke. Fiscal problems left over from the Bob Riley administration that were swept under the rug for four years are finally front and center. The chickens have come home to roost, so to speak. The general fund was projected to be more than $260 million short of the amount needed to maintain ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Legislature has big hole to dig out of

By Steve Flowers The legislature and Gov. Robert Bentley are preparing for the first regular session of the quadrennium. The session will begin March 3. Legislators need to arrive in Montgomery with their lunch pails and sleeves rolled up ready to go to work because the proverbial chickens have come home to roost. They are facing a gargantuan budget crisis in the state general fund. They can’t spend this fo ...

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Is strong dollar good for US economy?

By David Guttery Recently, the U.S. dollar reached an 11-year high in its value against the euro. It would seem that a strong dollar is good for the U.S. economy. However, the outlook is more complex than it may appear. As a consumer and investor, you might take a moment to consider the causes and potential effects of the rising dollar. Weakness overseas Fundamentally, the dollar is rising because the U.S. ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Federal intervention into state prisons not Alabama’s first rodeo

By Steve Flowers As the legislature and governor prepare for the upcoming initial legislative session of the quadrennium, they are facing ominous and obvious problems. The general fund is in dire straits, primarily due to the escalating costs of Medicaid and prisons. The problems in the prison system may be even more acute than with Medicaid. The reason is that our prison population is well in excess of wha ...

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The importance of working together

By Danny Garrett The 2015 legislative session will begin March 3. With super majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans will be focused on passing legislation to continue reducing the size and cost of state government; address serious budget shortfalls facing our state; resolve a myriad of complex issues in order to avoid federal intervention in the state prison system; and control escalating Medicaid ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Organized legislature is overwhelmingly Republican

By Steve Flowers The legislature completed its weeklong organizational session last month with very little fanfare or controversy. It will get to work on substantive issues beginning with the regular session in March. Its work will be cut out for it. The legislature is facing a general fund budget that has at least a $250 million deficit. The legislature that organized for the quadrennium is overwhelmingly ...

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Is tax increase best we can do for Alabama’s taxpayers?

By Slade Blackwell With the next legislative session about a month away, discussions have focused heavily on the budgetary challenges facing our state. One of our two major state budgets, the general fund, faces a shortfall that could reach as much as $265 million for the upcoming fiscal year. Medicaid, transportation infrastructure needs and Alabama’s overcrowded prisons are just a few of the significant s ...

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Inside the Statehouse: The issue of consolidating general fund, education budgets

By Steve Flowers The most pressing problem facing the governor and legislature as they enter this new quadrennium is the financial shortfall in the general fund budget. Last year Gov. Robert Bentley floated a trial balloon to see if there was any traction to combine the two state budgets in order to give more wiggle room in the budgeting of limited state dollars. It was quickly shot down. We are one of only ...

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Inside the Statehouse: An early lookahead to 2018 governor race

By Steve Flowers Robert Bentley was inaugurated last Monday as our governor for the second time. He and his lovely wife, Diane, are good people. When you get to be my age, four years goes by in a hurry. It seems like only yesterday that Gov. Bentley was enjoying his first inauguration. I recall walking down Dexter Avenue toward my perch as a commentator for one of the Montgomery television stations, when I ...

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Be careful about what you read about the economy

By David Guttery Recently, I vented my opinion upon my professional Facebook page, regarding articles written by those to whom I refer as “end timers,” who repeatedly call for the collapse of the global economy and the crash of markets. They haven’t been right yet. I’m sure that you have seen the articles written by authors wanting you to believe that we’re in some new “end of times” epoch, prophesied by Sc ...

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