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Inside the Statehouse: The importance of Florida in 2016 presidential election

By Steve Flowers The Common Core education topic is not only a hot political issue in Alabama, it has become a political football nationwide, and it appears to be a hot potato in the looming 2016 GOP presidential contest. As soon as Jeb Bush announced that he would “actively explore” a 2016 presidential bid, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, also a potential candidate and Tea Party Libertarian, said, “We need leader ...

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Know your rights, but file with care

By David Guttery In June 2014, as part of its ongoing effort to improve communication and service, the Internal Revenue Service issued a formal Taxpayer Bill of Rights. These rights aren’t new, but they were scattered throughout the tax code, and surveys have found that most taxpayers didn’t even know they had rights when dealing with the IRS. Although you might be more comfortable understanding your rights ...

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2015 legislative session is under way

By Danny Garrett The 2015 session of the Alabama Legislature convened March 3. A few bills had been pre-filed prior to the opening of the session and several other bills were introduced. The first bill I introduced as your representative -- HB97 -- would provide teachers in grades K-12 with the opportunity to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses they incur to purchase supplies and materials for their cl ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Will Common Core be high-profile issue this session?

By Steve Flowers The first regular legislative session of the quadrennium has begun. Legislators have arrived in Montgomery for their three-and-a-half-month session and they will face a myriad of problems and issues. The general fund budget has been in the doldrums for several years. The chickens have to come home to roost. There is a crisis looming in the prisons. The continuing escalating cost of Medicaid ...

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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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