Two sources with knowledge of the deal told The Military Times that Remington will purchase a 500,000-square-foot building to be used for manufacturing, new product development and training for the company's commercial, military and law enforcement businesses. Production is not expected to begin before 2015, the website said.
After the dismal performance of the Governor & State Legislature in 2013, it's clear that Governor Bentley's 2010 campaign slogan was right: "Alabama Needs A Doctor." Problem is... we got Governor Bentley instead of someone who actually cares about the health & welfare of the average citizen in the state.
Let's look at some situations this year where Dr. Governor Bentley's prescriptions went terribly awry.
The total number of jobs supported by the Alabama economy has grown by 0.14 percent from November 2012 to the same month this year, prior to seasonal adjustment. Only Alaska, where employment actually decreased, had a slower growth rate.
Gee... we sure could use some of those Medicaid expansion jobs about now. But instead, the state opted for.....
Corporate Welfare: Conservative estimates that Medicaid expansion would create 30,000+ new jobs in the state didn't sway Bentley, but 8500 new Boeing jobs was enough to enter Alabama in a nationwide bidding war that could cost the state over half a billion dollars.
For a man so terrified of taking federal money, the Governor said nary a word about the Huntsville International Airport using $6 million in federal money to pay airlies to improve service & lower fares. Yep. We're using public money to subsidize private companies to improve service. Wow: you'd think the GOP would be all up in arms about a scheme like that!
But hey... maybe that money stream flows both ways, so the Governor & GOP supermajority have to be careful not to annoy their corporate masters.
Campaign Finance Laws: As of August 1, 2013 Alabama allows unlimited corporate contributions to political candidates.
In May, the Legislature voted overwhelmingly to remove the cap, starting Aug. 1. Proponents said the $500 cap meant little because a 1989 state attorney general’s opinion allowed a corporation to give $500 to a political action committee for every election scheduled in the state in one year. [...]
If corporations wanted to exceed the cap, they could donate to several PACs, which could contribute to the same candidate, proponents said.
Because, you see, corporations were able to flout the laws intent anyway due to PAC contribution laws, so instead of fixing that loophole, they just did away with the law entirely.
Education: While the executive branch found a novel way to loot the Education Trust Fund to pay for a $99k no-bid Wordpress Web site, the legislature was even more creative.
Immigration: After years of protests, huge legal bills, and negative national and internation attention, Scott Beason's immigration bill died a quiet death in November. Governing magazine was blunt - Alabama's Immigration Law Gutted:
The state's settlement -- which awaits federal district court approval -- impacts all or parts of seven sections of the law. It would lift a state requirement that schools must verify the immigration status of newly enrolled K-12 students; it would remove a ban on undocumented immigrants soliciting work; it would eliminate a provision that criminalizes either giving rides or renting apartments to undocumented immigrants; and it would strike a provision that made any contract unenforceable if one party to the contract knew or should have known that another party was undocumented.
Truly, electing our current "doctor" to office was surely a cure much worse than the disease. In 2014, voters will have the chance to "switch providers" during open enrollment in the general election on November 4, 2014.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade.
Both the unemployment rate (7.9 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (12.3 million) were essentially unchanged in October, following declines in September.
The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000 over the month. The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8 percent, following an increase of 0.4 percentage point in September.
... there were 813,000 discouraged workers in October, a decline of 154,000 from a year earlier.
More people working, more people in the labor force, fewer discouraged workers -- that's why the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% even with 171,000 new jobs --plus the employment numbers for August and September were revised upward.
Good news for the economy, bad news for Mitt. But then, Mitt would be bad news for the economy, wouldn't he?
U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to its highest level in five years in October as consumers became more optimistic about the overall economy in a possible boost to President Obama's reelection hopes next month.
First time applications for unemployment benefits in September fell to their lowest level since 2008, the BLS announced this morning. Can't wait to hear what Jack Welch (formerly of Forbes) has to say about this.
Today’s data fit with the improvement in the labor market seen in the latest monthly jobs report, issued last Friday. The U.S. added 114,000 net jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell below 8% for the first time since President Barack Obama took office. Read more on payrolls report.
“Maybe the unemployment rate drop wasn’t a fluke?” said Robert Brusca, chief economist at FAO Economics.
It'll be interesting to see how the VP candidates handle these numbers during tonight's debate.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The rate declined because more people found work ...
The job market has been improving, sluggishly but steadily. Jobs have been added for 24 straight months. There are now 325,000 more than when Obama took office.
The numbers of jobs added in July and August were also revised -- upward.
Steady improvement in the employment picture. It's a slower recovery than anyone would wish for -- except Republicans who have done everything possible to slow the economy so they can use it as a tool to defeat Barack Obama -- but still, steady improvement. Things are better now than they were 4 years ago, moving in the right direction, and people know it. That's why Mitt Romney has not been able to turn this election into a referendum on the economy.
George Washington University's school of Political Management surveyed small business owners & found a majority supporting President Obama. In spite of Gov. Romney's inaccurate mantra of "you didn't build that," 39% of small business owners surveyed support the President while 31% support Gov. Romney.
GWU and Thumbtack surveyed 6,174 small businesses across the U.S., all with six employees or fewer. According to the U.S. Census, around 95 percent of small business owners employ six workers or fewer.
The entrepreneurs surveyed rated the economy and jobs as most important to them in choosing a president, while lower taxes—which Romney has stressed throughout his campaign—were rated as less important.
No surprise at the cathouse. Daddycat & I are small business owners and "lower taxes" don't even figure into our calculations. No, we're way too worried about paying health insurance premiums for ourselves & our employees. President Obama's health insurance reform stands to make that easier and more cost effective for us.
Our GOP senators have done absolutely nothing to help us and Senator Sessions actually led the charge against the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which allowed self-employed people to deduct their health insurance premiums. When I questioned him about that vote at a "town meeting" in Fort Payne a week later, he told me he "didn't remember" the bill. Funny, when I saw him on CSPAN talking about it, he was quite hot under the collar...
Chamber of Commerce campaign spending be damned. Actual small business owners - and not the plutocrats who claim to speak for us - know who's on our side. And it's not the guys stood by while their Wall Street cronies drove the economy into a ditch.
Ever since Clint Eastwood debated a chair at their convention, Republicans have been salivating at the possibility a bad jobs report tomorrow will overshadow President Obama's acceptance speech and the Democrats' successful convention in Charlotte. That's right, the GOP is selfishly pulling for failure on the jobs front, purely for political gain.
Here's Mitt Romney's advisor, shake the Etch-A-Sketch guy Eric Fehrnstrom:
“I think the biggest news next week will not be the three nights of the DNC but it will be on Friday…We’re all hoping for good news but the odds are high that the unemployment rate will remain above 8 percent.”
I think the biggest event won’t be his speech Thursday. It’ll be the Friday morning jobs report. If that Friday morning jobs report is bad, it’ll drown his speech. You want to talk about Eastwood? Friday morning jobs report is a lot bigger event next week than Eastwood was this week.
U.S. private employers added a better than expected 201,000 jobs in August, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Thursday, a rare dash of good news for the country's struggling labor market.
July's figure from the ADP National Employment Report was revised up to 173,000 from the previously reported 163,000.
201,000 new jobs is good enough that the jobless rate may have actually declined -- good news for Americans seeking work. The markets love this good news but Romney and his Republican pals aren't rejoicing. Gallup noted that of recent challengers, only George McGovern (1972) and John Kerry (2004) received no convention bounce. Both went on to lose to incumbent presidents.
In this world, there are people who love to build things and people who get their kicks from tearing them down. Mitt Romney has amassed huge personal wealth for himself and his family. He did it by tearing things down.
The choice in this election is as clear as Romney's record: He didn't build that, he destroyed it.
On Nov. 6th, will you vote for the man who would tear down America and ship it overseas, or vote to re-elect the man who has been working to re-build the American economy -- and build it to last? Quick profits for a few, or shared prosperity for all of us?
Romney & Ryan are now employing the same MediScare tactics Republicans used to deplore.
Team Obama presents the facts about Medicare, citing a source most seniors know and trust -- AARP. This ad will run in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
That prompted the Obama team to offer Romney a deal on the tax returns: Release 5 more years and we promise not to ask for more or criticize you for not releasing more. Don't hold your breath. 2009 is apparently a real problematic year for the Romneys.
In addition, the city will seek a $150,000 state site development grant and ask Huntsville Utilities to give Toyota an "investment initiative" credit worth $974,000.
Is anybody measuring the effectiveness of these giveaways in terms of creating jobs? How much public and communal money are we spending per job created? Is it worth it or are we getting taken to the cleaners? And when did utilities get involved?
OK, when the state spends millions on roads for a company or gives them a multi-million dollar property for free, we know it's taxpayers who are picking up the tab. The money trail is less clear when utility providers start giving away money to "create jobs."
If Huntsville Utilities gives Toyota a million dollar credit on their bill, it isn't because Toyota's expansion suddenly saves them a million dollars on the cost of generating and distributing that power. The million dollars has to come from somewhere and I suspect it comes from the other ratepayers who don't get such preferential treatment.
Another part of the PSC scheme is to give a rate discount to businesses that open or expand in a building that's been vacant for 6 months or more. This amounts to 10.5% to 12.5% off the total bill, which could be quite a substantial amount. Unfortunately, the example given in this report is of a chiropractor who moved to Alabama, but admits he didn't even know about the discount program when he decided to locate his practice in a vacant strip mall.
Reimann said Monday he learned about the program from one of his patients who works for Alabama Power, and he qualified because he opened his practice, Absolute Health Solutions, in strip mall space that had been vacant for months.
Reimann said he's awaiting his first bill since signing up, so it's too early to know the financial impact.
In other words, he would have located (did!) his business here without the incentive -- the utility incentive was just serindipitous free money, it didn't bring the jobs to Alabama. As job creation money goes, it was wasted.
The third part of the PSC's job creation scheme is to give discounts -- 10% the first year and 5% the second year -- to businesses who meet the state's criteria for Capital Investment Tax Credits (CITC). Here's a small bright spot. There is a requirement for new employees in order to qualify for the CITC ... but it seems kind of low for the amount of money they're handing out.
At least 50 new employees at headquarters facilities or data processing centers;
At least 20 new employees at all projects except utility owned projects, small business additions and projects located in favored geographic areas;
At least 15 new employees at small business addition projects;
At least 5 new employees at projects located in favored geographic areas*
New employees must meet the statutory definition of new employees, found in Section 40-18-190, Code of Alabama 1975. “New employees” cannot have worked at the site before, and cannot have worked for the project entity in Alabama before. Required jobs must be provided by the date that is not later than one (1) year after the project is placed in service, continuing each year thereafter.
I'd like to see more (any?) payback math on these utility giveaways, because $6 to $10 million seems like a lot to spend to get 20 new jobs -- or 5 in a disadvantaged area. On top of that, how many of these expansions and new businesses would locate here anyway, even without the giveaways?
In fact, Alabama taxpayers ought to be shown the payback math on all these business subsidies and other schemes to stimulate the economy -- like sales tax holidays, which apparently aren't the miracle our Legislature imagined they would be. Unfortunately, for the most part the data doesn't exist. A recent Pew Research Center report indicates that most states, including Alabama, don't have programs in place to evaluate the effectiveness of tax incentives and other "job creation" giveaways.
This is important. Every dollar spent on tax incentives, infrastructure or other giveaways to attract business and jobs is a dollar local and state governments can't spend on education, health care, transportation for the rest of us and critical government services. Alabama doesn't have any dollars to spare. Incentive programs ought to be monitored to make sure taxpayers are getting a good deal, not just giving good deals to big corporations.
“At a time when millions of Americans are looking for work, I’m not sure what could be more serious than protecting good-paying, middle-class jobs,” Reid said. “This obstruction tactic is unfortunate, but it’s not surprising. After all, Republicans’ nominee for president made a fortune working for a company that shipped jobs overseas.”
The Bring Jobs Home Act would have created a new tax credit for companies that spend money to bring overseas jobs back to the United States, and eliminate a tax credit for companies that spend money to move jobs overseas.
Some in the GOP had been supportive of the bill, but got in a snit about Reid's refusal to include amendments. Now, that sounds churlish of the Senate Majority Leader, until you hear what amendments Republicans wanted to attach:
“The only amendments I’ve seen are three in number — the Republicans have suggested to do away with the Affordable Care Act, to re-establish the Bush tax cuts and the Hatch tax measure,” Reid said. “Those have absolutely nothing to do with outsourcing.”
Republicans also objected to the "political" nature of the bill because it's certainly political when a Senate majority wants to pass a bill to help American workers, right?
“On the surface this might sound reasonable ... but as far as tax policy goes this is a joke,” said ranking member of the Finance Committee Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “It’s devoid of serious content because it is product of political rather than economic priorities.” [...] “To 21 million Americans whose jobs could be the next ones sent to China or India, it’s a very serious proposal,” Reid said. “And to the 2.5 million Americans who jobs have already been offshored, it doesn’t get any more serious than this. The only ones who aren’t taking this legislation seriously are Republicans in Congress.”
He's wrong there. Republicans are taking this very, very seriously. They know that their best chance of defeating President Obama in November is to continue their obstructionist tactics & do everything possible to dampen economic growth.
Remember, Senator McConnell told us all in December 2010, that the party's top priority was to "make Obama a one-term president."
... the strongest case against Bain capitalism is a metaphor: Mitt Romney made a fortune swapping equity for debt. That's what we've done for the past 30 years in this country, turning a great many of our assets into deficits for short-term gain. We need to do the opposite now.
Americans face a clear choice this year. Turn back to Romney and the extractionist economics that hollowed out the American dream, or move forward with Obama to reinvest in and rebuild the American economy.
Alabama voters like horses in political ads. I seem to remember Bob Riley borrowing a nice looking horse for an ad and honestly, Dale Peterson wouldn't have been a flash in the pan without the horse in his first ad.
This year the DNC is getting on the horse bandwagon early. They're betting Mitt's dancing horse, Rafalca, will be a liability ... especially given the way Romney has been dancing around questions about his financial record.
By the way, doesn't it violate some state ethics code to have Bentley using the state seal and the alabama.gov website to electioneer for Mitt Romney?
"I fully support Mitt Romney and his vision for our country, and I will do everything I can to help get him elected."
What about Section 17-7-5 of the Code of Alabama?
(a) No person in the employment of the State of Alabama, a county, a city, a local school board, or any other governmental agency, whether classified or unclassified, shall use any state, county, city, local school board, or other governmental agency funds, property, or time, for any political activities.
Yes, it does. Remember that big crash back in 2008? Of course you do -- we're still trying to claw out of the hole it left. Wonder what Mitt Romney doing when the bottom dropped out of the economy in 2008 and 2009?
Alabama lost about 150,000 jobs in the crash. Lots of Alabamians lost a big chunk of their life savings. The Alabama Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (PACT) fund lost around $300 million ... and a bunch of kids lost their college dreams with it. How would it feel to find out Mitt Romney paid no taxes during the crash? Or worse, that he actually made money off the market while ordinary people were losing everything, even their jobs?
“If you have things to hide, then maybe you’re doing things wrong,” Bentley said. “I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people.”
Dr. Gov. Bentley's comments about Mitt Romney's tax returns are featured in a new highlights reel (below the fold) of Republicans saying Romney ought to release those returns ... at the same time Bentley is desperately backpedaling via press release.
"I believe my comments were taken out of context, they were not reported in their entirety, and I want to make sure the record is set straight," Governor Bentley said in a statement. "I believe in trasparency, and that was the basis for my answer. I personally choose to release my own returns each year, and there was no effort to imply that Mr. Romney has anything to hide."
Nice try guv, but in the video on the flip, you clearly admit saying, "I do" in response to the question of whether Mitt Romney should release his tax returns. And your words at the top of this post, "If you have things to hide, then maybe you’re doing things wrong," are a simple truth we all recognize.
The modern GOP (which is full of liars and scoundrels) needs to revise Reagan's 11th Commandment: Never speak illthe truth of fellow Republicans.
For several days now I've felt that whatever is in Mitt's returns, it can't possibly be as bad as the things we can (and will!) imagine might be in there. It should be noted that prominent Republican experts do not agree with me on this point. They say what's in Mitt's tax returns must be really bad or he'd release them and stop the bleeding ...
MATT DOWD: There is obviously something because if there was nothing there he would say have it…But I think the bigger thing is, it’s arrogance. Many of these politicians think I can do this, I can get away with this.
STEPHANAPOULOS …[George Will] You are nodding your head at that.
GEORGE WILL: Absolutely. Mitt Romney has said he has released all that’s necessary for people to understand “something” about my finances. Now “something” is a pregnant word… The costs of not releasing the returns are clear, therefore he must have calculated there are higher costs to releasing them.
The Romney's made a bundle off the dot com boom -- while everyone else lost their shirts. And the housing boom. And all the other booms where John and Jane Q. Public lost their shirts. It's what vulture capitalists do.
All this is pure speculation, of course, which is all we can do until Mitt Romney releases the actual details of his financial dealings -- which he owes America since he's running on his record as a financial whiz. But if the powers that be continue to smile on Democrats, that release won't come for a long, long time.
Unfortunately -- for him and them -- a big chunk of his party is. Mitt's tax return mess is a perfect example of how out of step Romney is with the people who -- in the normal scheme of things -- should be his strongest supporters.
First former Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour (R) said he would release past tax returns in Romney's position. Then yesterday Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) went even further.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, in an interview with ABC News today, called on presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney to release his tax returns in order to show voters that he has “nothing to hide.”
Bentley said that Romney’s refusal to release more returns has created a “distraction” that Democrats were successfully exploiting.
“They’re doing everything they can to hurt Governor Romney and tax returns will be one of those things,” Bentley said. “So the best thing to do is just get everything out in the open and just say, ‘hey I have nothing to hide and I’m going to release my tax returns.’”
In Southern society, successful politicians ask no quarter and generally give none. And indeed, Obama gave Romney no quarter. He gave him yet another mocking video.
Mitt Romney. He sure asks for a lot of apologies. When he's not launching attacks.
Who looks bold in this exchange? Barack Obama.
Who looks like a whiny little wimp? Mitt Romney.
Republican strategist John Weaver, himself a native of Texas, sums it up:
“There is no whining in politics. Stop demanding an apology, release your tax returns.”
Romney's stonewalling and whining turns the worldview of Southern Republicans on its head. They hate it, because being on the tough, bold, winning bandwagon is very important to GOPer self image in these parts. I'm not saying the wimpy rich guy from Massachusetts is likely to lose the South -- even if he's a whiner, he still has an 'R' behind his name. Plenty of GOPers will gladly turn out to vote against that upstart (ie: bold) black guy from Chicago -- but the excitement of voting for someone is missing. The bandwagon effect won't be there.
And that's not good for downticket races. How long before we see downticket Republican candidates distancing themselves from Mitt Romney -- kind of like Robert Bentley did by saying:
“If you have things to hide, then maybe you’re doing things wrong.”
In their heart of hearts, Southern Republicans know Romney is doing things wrong. And it's going to cost them dearly.