Alabama editorial roundup

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Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

March 31

Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser on state relying heavily on federal funding:

Railing against the federal government is a staple of Alabama politics. It's also one of the all-time ironies, given the state's heavy dependence on federal money and employment. That irony may be lost on the state's politicians, but it shouldn't be lost on the rest of us.

There's probably more smoke blown about those heavy-handed feds and their oppressive taxes and regulations than about anything else in Alabama, yet our state benefits more than 47 other states — often greatly more — from federal funds and jobs. Consider that the next time you hear some Alabama pol nattering on about the menace from Washington.

A new study from WalletHub finds that Alabama gets $3.28 in federal funding for every $1 paid in federal income taxes in the state. Name another legal enterprise that nets a return like that.

That's more than Mississippi ($3.07) gets, more than Kentucky ($2.39) gets, and far more than Tennessee ($1.64), North Carolina ($1.34), Arkansas ($1.10) or Georgia ($1.05) get.

Federal money covers 37 percent of overall state spending in Alabama. Federal funds bolster state funding throughout Alabama government, notably in health care, transportation infrastructure and education.

Working for the federal government is a big factor in Alabama as well. Our state has more federal employees per capita than Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina or Arkansas.

None of this is to say that the feds don't have their flaws, or that even the usually misguided rhetoric of anti-government Alabama politicians does not occasionally hit a legitimate target. Rather, the point is that the routinely maligned federal government is a huge component of Alabama government and of the Alabama economy, and to reflexively denigrate it is foolish.

Online:

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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March 30

Dothan (Ala.) Eagle on business, jobs spring from U.S.-China Manufacturing Symposium:

The closing day of the city's first full-scale U.S.-China Manufacturing Symposium, Dothan got some good news - the impending arrival of a manufacturing facility and an accounting/consulting firm.

Nanjing Zijin-Lead Electronics, one of China's leading 3D printer manufacturers, confirmed the location of a small manufacturing facility - Dothan 3D - in our city. A Midwest-based accounting and consulting firm, Wipfli, announced that the company would establish a branch office in downtown Dothan.

That brings the symposium to a close on a high note, and is particularly encouraging as the relationship-building among regional communities and Chinese industrialists is in its early stages.

It also underscores the benefits of this sort of industrial recruitment strategy. Traditionally, industrial recruitment has been approached on a prospect by prospect basis. A large-scale event like the U.S.-China Manufacturing Symposium, while more costly on the front end, is far more economical in the long run, as many industrialists have an opportunity to hear from multiple communities, and smaller municipalities without the means to arrange recruitment opportunities alone have an opportunity to pitch the benefits of their areas.

We welcome our newest Dothan businesses, and applaud their decisions to join our community. Mayor Schmitz, SoZo Group CEO Raymond Cheng and the scores of staff and volunteers who made the symposium a success have much to be proud of - and our community should be proud of them.

Online:

http://www.dothaneagle.com

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March 30

The Decatur (Ala.) Daily on lawmakers must protect the minority:

An unseemly mess, disguised as religious freedom, could be the result of bills proposed in several state legislatures, including Alabama.

They are plays on our emotions, designed to appeal to knee-jerk responses but in fact are neither constitutional nor ethical. Their dangers are sheathed beneath a veneer that gives their sponsors a pseudo-righteous air at the expense of a legitimate American virtue — the 14th Amendment promise that no state shall deny any individual "the equal protection of the laws."

One is called the "Health Care Rights of Conscience Act." It says health care providers shouldn't have to provide services they find "morally objectionable." It stipulates that doctors, nurses and researchers can't "discriminate" against patients, right before it gives them authority to discriminate.

The bill purportedly was written by an anti-abortion group, but we can safely assume it doesn't really apply to abortion clinics, which aren't typically staffed by those who find abortion morally objectionable.

No, the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act, like a variety of proposed election-year legislation, is attention-seeking drivel aimed to touch our basic fears.

The problem is not that abortion isn't a serious societal issue. Good people have strong beliefs that abortion is a death sentence, and we need to have forums to address it.

The problem is that the 2014 Alabama Legislature is ill-equipped to host this forum.

Online:

http://www.decaturdaily.com

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