Opinion | Protect the sanctity of marriage from government intrusion

February 7, 2018

By State Sen. Greg Albritton

Like most Alabamians, I believe that God established the institution of marriage for the benefit of mankind. Indeed, His purpose was to begin the human family within His bonds of marriage, as a holy union.

Then government stole marriage, for its own purposes.

A classic example is Henry VIII, who established his own church in order to achieve the destruction of his marriage. Henry is not the only example of government overreach into marriage. Throughout history, the government has used marriage as a tool to effect its ends, to protect government power, to maintain control of property and estates, and even to keep a “pure” race. In 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level with the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

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Many Stumbling Blocks To Prison Reform

October 3, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley wants to float $800 million in bonds to build new prisons. Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner, Jeff Dunn wants that, too. Some State Senators believe Bentley and Dunn are using the recent prison violence as a way to gin up support for their plan. They also think Dunn is implying a takeover by the federal authorities is imminent.

No one in their right mind who has toured Alabama’s crumbling prisons would deny there are problems of epic proportion. Outside of Bentley, Dunn and the companies knowing they may gain millions in borrowed State money, it would be difficult to find anyone willing to spend nearly a billion dollars, in a no-bid scheme known as design-build, to construct Bentley’s dream prisons.
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Greek Voters Reject Referendum

July 7, 2015

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Greek voters went to the polls and soundly rejected austerity measures that were designed to help payback the troubled country’s growing bond debt crisis.

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Ms. Christine Lagarde, issued a statement on Monday, July 6 after the people of Greece voted to reject the proposals: “The IMF has taken note of yesterday’s referendum held in Greece. We are monitoring the situation closely and stand ready to assist Greece if requested to do so.”

On Monday, the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned after the country Votes “No” in the bailout referendum.  Varoufakis said that he resigned after some of Greece’s creditors said they didn’t want him involved in further negotiations.  This is after he accused Greece’s creditors of “terrorism”, the day before a referendum on the international bailout.

Greece defaulted on it’s loan agreement payment last week.

The US State Department said in a statement on before the default: “Greece continues to present a challenging climate for investment, both foreign and domestic. The previous government made substantial progress in carrying out fiscal and structural economic reforms. A number of these reforms aimed to simplify the investment framework, and the government actively sought to attract foreign investment to drive the country’s long-term economic recovery.

A new, leftist government took office in January 2015 parliamentary elections. The new government has sought extensive renegotiation and easing of the terms of the country’s bailout agreement with the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The slow progress of these negotiations, Greece’s increasingly tight public finances and concern over the government’s long-term commitment to market-friendly reforms has contributed to renewed economic uncertainty…Concern over the direction of the new government’s national economic policies has essentially frozen new investment and caused some existing investors to scale down or withdraw entirely from the Greek market.”

According to the state Department at the end of 2014, public debt in Greece reached a high of 177.7 percent of GDP.  The Greek economy posted modest growth of around 0.8 percent in 2014, the first positive growth since 2008. Since 2008, Greek GDP has shrunk by 28 percent. The massive drop in Greek incomes both from the global Great Recession and austerity measures meant to stabilize the economy have led to a tremendous increase in nonperforming loans (NPLs). The banking sector was recapitalized in 2013 and 2014 but the economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2014 leading Greeks to withdraw over 28 billion EUROs.

Greece’s bailout loans are primarily in the form of bilateral loans from other Eurozone member states.  According to the State Department analysis the terms are very favorable, with low interest payments and a long repayment profile.

The Leftist Syriza Party controlled Greek government had urged voters to say “No” to the terms of a bailout package, but opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the Eurozone.  Greece’s current bailout program with the European Commission, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) ran out on Tuesday.

The banks have been shut down all week and limits on cash withdrawals have been implemented.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that Greeks made a “brave choice” in voting to reject the terms of an international bailout.  The final result was 61.3 percent voting “No”, to just 38.7 percent voting “Yes”.

No word has come on whether or not Europe is going to eject Greece from the European Union or not.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurozone’s group of finance ministers, called the referendum result “very regrettable” for the future of Greece.

The Prime Minister has appointed Euclid Tsakalotos as the new finance minister.

For decades following World War II the global economy has experienced positive economic growth. Governments knowing that their revenues were increasing every year ran up massive bond debts. Rising revenues would mean that paying the service on those debts would be easier and easier; however growth has been lackluster following the Great Recession and servicing the bond debts has gotten to be more and more difficult for governments.  Puerto Rico announced last week that they would be unable to pay the debt service on their $77 billion in outstanding bond debt.

(Original reporting by Fox News and CNN contributed to this report.)

 

Global Economy Starting to Show Cracks

July 3, 2015

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The last four days have seen lots of troubling economic news.  On Thursday, July 2, new job numbers are out showing that unemployment has decreased to 2008 levels. Normally this would be good news but much of the improvement is actually attributable to people dropping out of the work force. The number of Americans who are actually working dropped by 432,000.

US Representative Bradley Byrne said in a statement, “Today’s job numbers are not a good sign. Too many people are leaving the labor force and giving up on looking for work. Even worse, wages are rising at a rate too low to help workers get ahead. President Obama’s regulatory actions, along with Obamacare, are depressing our economy and hurting young Americans the most.”

All of that is overshadowed in the financial community by concerns over Greece. On Tuesday June 30, the Director of Communications at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gerry Rice made a written statement regarding Greece’s financial obligations to the IMF that are now past due: “I confirm that the SDR 1.2 billion repayment (about EUR 1.5 billion) due by Greece to the IMF today has not been received. We have informed our Executive Board that Greece is now in arrears and can only receive IMF financing once the arrears are cleared.”

Director Rice said, “I can also confirm that the IMF received a request today from the Greek authorities for an extension of Greece’s repayment obligation that fell due today, which will go to the IMF’s Executive Board in due course.”

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Monday, June 28, “I have briefed the IMF Executive Board on the inconclusive outcome of recent discussions on Greece in Brussels. I shared my disappointment and underscored our commitment to continue to engage with the Greek authorities.

Ms. Lagarde said, “The coming days will clearly be important. I welcome the statements of the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank to make full use of all available instruments to preserve the integrity and stability of the euro area. These statements underscore that the euro area today is in a strong position to respond to developments in a timely and effective manner, as needed.”

Lagarde promised, “The IMF also will continue to carefully monitor developments in Greece and other countries in the vicinity and stands ready to provide assistance as needed. I continue to believe that a balanced approach is required to help restore economic stability and growth in Greece, with appropriate structural and fiscal reforms supported by appropriate financing and debt sustainability measures. The IMF is prepared to continue to pursue that approach with the Greek authorities and our European partners.”

Closer to home, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced on Monday, June 28 that the island territory is insolvent and will not pay back its $72 billion in debt. Not on time and in full, in any case.

The US territory has watched wages stagnate, the work force decline, people move away at an alarming rate.

 

Bentley Announces Savings of $35 Million By Refinancing Bonds

July 3, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, July 1, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced that the Alabama Public School and College Authority (PSCA) successfully completed the refinancing of $574.2 million in outstanding bonds, issued in 2007.  The announcement occurred at a meeting on Tuesday in the Finance Director’s Office. Refinancing the bonds at today’s much lower interest rates will result in savings to the taxpayers of over $35 million over the life of the bonds.
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Freeman Gets Endorsement of Associated General Contractors of Alabama PAC

March 21, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) Political Action Committee has announced they are supporting Joe Freeman (R) for Alabama House of Representatives District 44.

The Director of Government Affairs for the AGC, Chris Williams said “Joe Freeman’s background in finance and knowledge of State government will represent the people of District 44 well. The eastern area of Jefferson County is experiencing rapid growth. Our members have projects throughout the area. It’s important for the AGC to support candidates that understand our motto of Skill, Responsibility and Integrity means everything to us.”
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Candidates Addresses Tea Party Group

March 3, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, February 20th, Joe Freeman and nine other Republican candidates addressed the Rainy Day Patriots at their candidate’s forum. Freeman is running for Alabama House District 44, representing the Trussville and Clay area of Jefferson County. Rep. Arthur Payne (R) from Trussville has served for 44 years but is now stepping down and Freeman would like to be elected to that House District 44 seat.
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Despite Record Stock Market Highs Small-Business Owners Pessimistic about Expectation for Growth

March 19, 2013

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Stocks are soaring.   Last year the major stock market indices all were up over the year and 2013 has been a banner year with the Dow up more than 10% since January 1.  That has not translated to small business owners.   The National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly Index of Small Business Optimism increased 1.9 points in February to 90.8 an improvement over the past several months but still below the trough of the 1991-92 and 2001-02 recessions.
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Bentley Announces 34 Additional ATRIP Projects

July 31, 2012

By  Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Monday announced 34 additional, supplemental road and bridge projects that can move forward as part of Round 1 of funding for the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

Gov. Bentley said, “With these additional projects, we are moving closer to our goal of improving the safety of roads and bridges throughout Alabama.  Many of our bridges are in desperate need of repair or replacement.  Many of our roads are outdated and cannot handle current demand.  Through ATRIP, we are able to make needed improvements to enhance public safety and quality of life in our communities.”
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