Rep. Roby Calls Failure of Congress to Reach a payroll tax Compromise “Ridiculous”

December 22, 2011

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporters

United States Representative Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery issued a press release condemning Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate for leaving town for Christmas rather than appointing Senate members to a Conference Committee to resolve the differences between the Senate bill and the House bill to extend unemployment benefits and the temporary cut in the Social Security Taxes.  “But rather than approve the House bill, the Senate rushed through a short two-month extension and left town for the Christmas break. If we are going to extend the payroll tax holiday, we should extend the holiday for a full year.”  Representative Roby said, “It seems ridiculous to me that Congress cannot even agree to pass a law that most Members actually support. This is the height of dysfunction. The political posturing needs to end. The back and forth rhetoric needs to stop.”
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City’s insurance company seeks legal clarity on Councilman Little’s, former Councilman Spain’s legal bills

December 22, 2011

Staff Report

The city of Anniston’s insurance carrier has asked a court to determine whether it’s required to provide coverage in the case of a current and a former councilman being sued by the Anniston Fraternal Order of Police.

Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation is taking the action following the city’s request that it reconsider a decision to deny coverage to Councilman Ben Little and former Councilman John Spain.

Little and Spain were sued by the F.O.P. in November accusing the councilmen of harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
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Birmingham News: Fortunately, a judge’s ruling last week does not gut the state’s ban on money transfers between political action committees

December 21, 2011

Staff Report

The best part of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott’s ruling last week on Alabama’s ban on money transfers between political action committees is what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t gut the law, in spite of House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s overheated reaction.

“Simply put, this ruling will make it easier for special-interest groups to hide campaign money and keep voters in the dark,” Hubbard said. “It was bad enough that Democrats resisted campaign finance reform for so long. It’s unconscionable they are now undoing the reforms Alabama waited so long to have.”
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Anniston Star: Investing in Alabama — still

December 21, 2011

Staff Report

If the Retirement Systems of Alabama does not bring in sufficient income from its investments to pay retirement benefits for public employees, the state is obligated to make up the difference in tax revenue.

In the last decade, RSA investments have not produced as much as hoped. Thus, Gov. Robert Bentley and Republican leaders in the state Legislature are growing concerned that they might have to divert money from their projects into the retirement funds or, heaven forbid, find new sources of revenue.
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Gadsden Times: A barrier worth building

December 21, 2011

Staff Report

People don’t like to be inconvenienced. People who are sick especially don’t like to be inconvenienced or face barriers to getting medications they need.

Law enforcement officials in Alabama believe one such barrier needs to be erected, however, and we tend to agree with them.

Alabama’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees last week held a joint hearing in Hoover to discuss a variety of law enforcement-related issues, including drugs and computer crimes. Among those testifying were Todd Entrekin, Etowah County sheriff; and Rob Savage, commander of the county’s Drug Enforcement Unit. They focused on methamphetamine labs — their dangers and the changes that should be made to current laws to help law enforcement deal with them.
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Anniston Star: Rebuilding the Gulf Coast: State’s congressional delegation should support critical act

December 21, 2011

Staff Report

After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, BP established a $1 billion pool that would serve as a good-faith down payment on fines and penalties anticipated from the laws that were broken and the damage that was done.

Last week, representatives from the affected Gulf Coast states agreed on $57 million worth of restoration projects. These will be presented for public comment early in 2012.

The criteria for selection were (a.) there had to be a clear environmental benefit; (b.) the projects had to repair damage caused by the spill; (c.) they had to be able to be constructed and implemented quickly; and (d.) there had to be a high likelihood that they would be successful.
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Roby: Rewriting Tax Policy Every Two Months is “Not a Good Way to Run a Railroad”

December 21, 2011

Staff Report

As Senate Kicks the Can Down the Road, House Calls for the Regular Order

WASHINGTON—Rep. Martha Roby made the following comments today regarding ongoing congressional negotiations over legislation to extend the payroll tax holiday, reform unemployment insurance, force a decision on the Keystone Pipeline, and adjust the Sustainable Growth Rate:

“Last week, the House passed responsible legislation to prevent a tax increase on the middle class during a slow economic recovery, reform unemployment insurance, force a decision on the Keystone Pipeline, and ensure that doctors receive adequate reimbursement for treating America’s senior citizens. In doing so, House Republicans refused to add to the national debt. Instead, we made the tough choices necessary to pay for the legislation—something past Congresses have failed to do.
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First Lady Dianne Bentley Delivers “Blankets with a Blessing” to SafeHouse of Shelby County

December 21, 2011

Staff Report

COLUMBIANA—First Lady Dianne Bentley donated fifty-five blankets to the SafeHouse of Shelby County as part of her “Blankets with a Blessing” initiative to provide new quilts and blankets to homeless and displaced families during the holiday season. “Blankets with a Blessing” has provided thousands of blankets since the initiative began in 2004.

An avid quilter herself, Mrs. Bentley donated a handmade blanket to the cause.

“It was heartwarming again, to see the response from Alabamians as we came together to reach out to care for one another. The blankets will serve as a source of comfort for those living in SafeHouse,” said First Lady Dianne Bentley. “The ladies at the center were so appreciative for the blankets and were honored that the people in their care could be the recipients of such a loving gift. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to use my position as First Lady to help those in need and I hope in the years to come I will be able to further help the people of Alabama.”
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Mahindra Calls Alabama Reports “Baseless and Incorrect”

December 21, 2011

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Mahindra has issued a press release denying reports that it will be building its pickup trucks in Alabama.  In the press release, Mahindra calls the reports that Navistar has an agreement with Mahindra to assemble the Indian trucks near Muscle Shoals,  “completely baseless & incorrect.”

The fan blog, Mahindra Planet, still insists that according to their sources Mahindra will begin production at the 2 million square foot plant which Navistar has leased from Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) within six months to have trucks on the market for the 2013 model year.  The writers at the Mahindra Planet Blog report that Navistar will assemble Mahindra TR20 and TR40 pickup trucks from Indian-built components.  Mahindra Planet speculates that Mahindra could also build an SUV at the factory.
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Alabama Governor Bentley wants no earmarks for tax collections to boost General Fund

December 21, 2011

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Alabama’s long history of locking in most of its tax collections for specific uses would make it hard to shift some money now reserved for education to the state’s General Fund, Gov. Robert Bentley said.

Several times the governor has said he might ask lawmakers to shift some money reserved for the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund, but he hasn’t decided whether to do it.
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