December 27, 2011
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December 23, 2011
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Evidently, the Alabama Legislative District Maps have gone missing! Remember: they were supposed to be released to the public in early December.
All 35 Senate districts and 105 House districts will have to be redrawn because of population changes since districts were last redrawn in 2001.
The new districts will be based on the results of the 2010 federal census.
Dial said the plan is to meet before Thanksgiving and then have a proposed district plan ready by early December so that legislators on the committee can conduct hearings in their districts.
Dial and Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, plan to introduce House and Senate redistricting bills in the 2012 legislative session, which begins in February. McClendon is the committee’s co-chairman in the House.
Oh no. Some bird must have taken the map to its nest in the dark cave. Let’s hope Dora can find the maps soon. Let’s hope there is better transparency this time around than there was on the Congressional maps. Last time, the map stayed in the dark cave until the last minute.
[Sen. Gerald] Dial, R-Lineville, said after the original public hearing in Montgomery that there were not any maps. They were there to listen to the public and receive input before beginning their work. Then, a week later, when the committee was considering a plan similar to his, he said he had been working on a plan for weeks, had input from members of the state’s congressional delegation, and had spent hours on the phone with them.
So, while there allegedly was not a map in the works that people could comment on during the public hearings, there was at least apparently a plan he had been working on for weeks — not with public input, but with the input of seven members of Congress.
December 23, 2011
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Gary Hart accurately identifies the danger of a Newt presidency:
For one or two of us, Mr. Gingrich’s most troubling characteristics are his attention span of a precocious 3-year-old and his latent tendency toward grandiosity. Perhaps in coming years he will learn to be able to sit down for more than five minutes at a time and concentrate and focus on a single thought. That would certainly be helpful in the White House. At present, President Gingrich would make Bill Clinton look sedate. But a president with a messianic sense of destiny and conviction that he is on earth to fundamentally alter history, with a comparison of himself to Winston Churchill (who never exhibited such a sense), is nothing less than a dangerous thing.
Churn up a mixture of messianic destiny, widespread contempt for those who differ, and an almost manic restlessness and we might soon have a nominee for president who, if elected, would provide many Americans with a sudden interest in a rather long sabbatical in more traditional and predictable democracies, especially those without nuclear arsenal.
Newt spells Robespierre.
December 19, 2011
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Central to that legacy has been Washington’s decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.
December 16, 2011
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Governments offer companies nearly $50 billion a year in location incentives, designed to convince them to either stay put or move, Thomas says. Greg LeRoy, executive director of the research center Good Jobs First, which tracks corporate subsidies, describes the “subsidy industrial complex” of site-location consultants, industry groups and industrial realtors who track, arrange and promote deals between companies and governments.
The result doesn’t create any new jobs, but merely moves existing jobs around while fostering economic war between the states. Earlier this year Ohio was on the losing end of a bidding war over Chiquita, the produce company that’s moving to Charlotte, N.C., based largely on a $22 million relocation offer. In New Jersey earlier this year two companies—Panasonic and Pearson Educational—accepted a total of $184.5 million to move jobs from one part of the state to another.
“It’s job blackmail—threatening to leave and shaking down states and cities to stay,” says Thomas, whose book, Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital, examines the subject. “Collectively governments are giving away all this money but it doesn’t affect the location of investment overall. There isn’t any possibility you’re creating new jobs. Ohio might get 6,000 new jobs (from the Sears deal), but Illinois loses them.”
Both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements should oppose these deals as well:
There is also a libertarian argument against incentive packages, since the offers place governments in the position of choosing economic winners and losers instead of allowing the market to determine corporate success. “It’s economically moronic, even though it tracks a nationwide trend of Big Government handing over money to selected big businesses,” writes Thomas Patterson, chairman of the Goldwater Institute. “The subsidies are touted as necessary for job growth, to stimulate depressed regions and promote economic development. Unfortunately, they just don’t work.”
Thomas adds that the Occupy movement and concern over income inequality is shedding light on how tax policy often favors corporations. “You have average citizens and taxpayers subsidizing wealthy corporations,” he says, “and a lot of people object to that upward redistribution.”
For some alternative economic development strategies focusing on supporting and preferring locally-owned businesses, see the following:
- Are Alabama economic development packages windfalls instead of merely incentives
- Large employers create “jobs” but locally-owned businesses create wealth.
- City of Richmond strives to be an Ownership Society
- ADO Greg Canfield promises AL will continue to pay extortion demands.
- Does Alabama want 27,500 jobs & $4.2 billion in new economic output? Then revive local food production
- Hello, McFly! Effective economic development emphasizes local.
- At least we did not score an F.
- Employing the power of anchor institutions
- Oregon enacts bill to empower locally-owned businesses
- Let’s stop begging to be exploited.
December 16, 2011
This week we learned that state and local governments had given over $1 billion to ThyssenKrupp. I still wonder how much locally owned businesses and local communities could have used that $1 billion dollars. Nevertheless. a new report, as discussed in the New York Times, calls into question the sole operating philosophy of economic development in Alabama.
“We hope that states will fix their rules to make sure that their programs are creating lots of jobs, and good jobs, with wages tied to the economy and with health care, so companies aren’t getting paid to pull wages down,” said Greg LeRoy, the executive director of Good Jobs First, who added that such deals should be watched even more closely in a downturn. “There’s a real tension between economic development spending and the maintenance of vital services.”
States rarely have accurate measures of how many jobs such programs create, but they are discovering that many such programs fail to live up to their billing. Pennsylvania found in a 2009 legislative report that many business in its Keystone Opportunity Zone program “are not creating jobs or generating capital investment.” A recent study that New Jersey commissioned of its Urban Enterprise Zone program found that the $2.17 billion it spent over six years had produced “limited economic impact.” New York changed its old Empire Zone program, which was supposed to give tax breaks to companies to create jobs in poor areas, after auditors found that some businesses had received tax breaks but lost jobs, while others were being rewarded for hiring in wealthier areas.
“Over time, the programs get deregulated in ways that make them windfalls instead of incentives,” Mr. LeRoy said.
The new report singled out some states for praise. Nevada and North Carolina’s programs were applauded for having strong wage standards, requirements that employers provide health coverage and pay part of the premium, and requirements that subsidized facilities stay open for a set period of time.
Money for Something rates the performance standards and job quality requirements of 238 key subsidy programs from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each is rated on a scale of 0-100. Findings:
- Only 135 programs have a performance standard relating to job creation, job retention or training of a certain number of workers.
- Fewer than half (98) of the 238 programs impose a wage requirement, and only 53 of those are tied to labor market rates.
- Only 11 of the wage requirements raise pay levels by mandating rates somewhat above existing market averages. Wage requirements vary from just above the federal minimum to more than $40/hour in limited cases.
- Only 51 programs require that a subsidized employer make available healthcare coverage, and only 31 require an employer contribution to premiums.
- The states with the best average scores among their programs: Nevada (82), North Carolina (79) and Vermont (77). The worst: the District of Columbia (4), Alaska (5) and Wyoming (10).
And if we are not going to invest in locally-owned businesses , continue being bullied around, and pay the extortion of the out-of-state corporations, let’s at least demand transparency and accountability.
December 13, 2011
Here is the transcript from ALGOP State Senator Gerald Dial’s interview by Brooke Baldwin on CNN:
BALDWIN: In Alabama, you have got supporters of the state’s new illegal immigration law expressing some buyer’s remorse. It recently came to a head after police arrested a German who ended later turned out to be a Mercedes-Benz executive, Mercedes-Benz, a major employer in the state of Alabama.
Also then, a Japanese man was detained, and he turned out to work for Honda, another big employer. That prompted a paper in Missouri to invite foreign carmakers to relocate there. Take a look at the quote: “We are the Show Me State, not the show me your papers state” — “Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.”
Joining me now from Montgomery, State Senator Gerald Dial. He is Alabama’s Republican whip.
And, Senator Dial, thanks for coming on.
I know you supported this law, parts of which took effect back in September. It’s considered now — and I have talked to your governor, he agrees — the nation’s toughest. Are you, sir, having some second thoughts?
GERALD DIAL (R), ALABAMA STATE SENATOR: We certainly are. And we’re also looking at making some changes in this law.
We probably overreached. I think most people in Alabama agree that we overreached on this law. And we have met with Attorney General Luther Strange and look at some change that needs to be made to this law. And that’s the good thing about the legislature. The bill we passed last year, we can start in this legislative session and make some changes.
BALDWIN: We will talk about some of that overreaching and maybe potential changes in a minute.
But in terms of I guess the image, are you worried at all that your state is being branded as being hostile to overseas businesses, some surrounding states, i.e. Missouri, clearly eager to push that idea?
DIAL: Well, I certainly am.
And, you know, recruiting industry is one of the most competitive things in America. It’s worse than recruiting quarterbacks for your high school or college football team. And so we’re certainly concerned about this. And we have worked diligently in this state for 40 years to overcome some of the images that we have had.
And to see it certainly regress back to those images that are certainly not Alabama, that don’t portray the true and real Alabama certainly bothers all of us. So, we’re committed to making some changes so we can help to overcome those images.
BALDWIN: And just so I’m clear, sir, when you say make changes, we’re not talking repeal the law. You’re making tweaks. Is that correct?
DIAL: Well, we’re talking about some tweaks, but some major tweaks that we think will make this law more amenable to people of this state.
What we did, we overreached, and we — not only in trying to make sure we didn’t have illegal immigrants in this state. We also have penalized our own citizens who have lived here all their lives. All the hardships we placed on them are also hardships that we tried to place on illegal immigrants. And this was not the intention of this bill. It was not my intention.
And I made a mistake in voting on this bill as it is today, and I’m a person that will admit I made a mistake, and I’m committed to trying to correct those mistakes. And we’re working on those as you speak.
BALDWIN: All right. So, as you — you admit this mistake, how, then, do you craft legislation that would ensure your police officers don’t arrest more foreign executives whose firms provide jobs to the people of your state?
DIAL: Well, you know, that was a unique case and certainly one that probably could have been handled with a lot more compassion. But, you know, when with I go to Europe I have to have my passport to even check in a hotel.
So the individual should have certainly should have had identification with him. He made a mistake. I don’t know all the details, but he could have been a little more compassionate, say, send somebody to the room and get your passport and identify yourself.
We’ve put our law enforcement people in an awkward position of trying to enforce a law that’s not really that clear. I’ve met with the attorney general of this state, Luther Strange, last week. He has come forward with some suggestions in changing the bill, and some of these we’re going to encompass into a bill that we’re going to introduce early on in the session.
BALDWIN: So perhaps the toughest immigration law in the land may no longer be that way if you have a little something to do with it. We’ll stay on this, Alabama state senator Gerald Dial. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
DIAL: Thank you very much.