The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

2 years ago

Alabama monuments: Preserving our history to protect our future


Doing the right thing isn’t always politically expedient, but a strong leader does what’s necessary regardless of her critics. Governor Kay Ivey exemplifies this kind of no-nonsense leadership.

Last year, our state faced a difficult decision: should we listen to the politically-correct, out-of-state pundits or do what’s best for the future of Alabama?


All across Alabama, we have monuments and statues that tell our storied past. Many of these moments have affected our entire nation and shaped us to be who we are today. History doesn’t just tell us where we’ve been, it often provides signals and warnings for how to avoid repeating past errors. As George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Nearly one year ago, I sponsored the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, a law that protects historic monuments and memorials in Alabama from thoughtless destruction.

More specifically, the Memorial Preservation Act prohibits the destruction or alteration of public monuments older than forty years, and established a standing committee to hear waiver requests from cities and counties, while historic artifacts under the control of museums, archives, libraries, and universities were specifically exempted from the prohibition against
removal or alteration.

This law is the result of countless discussions with other legislators, historians, and interested citizens, and the intent is to preserve memorials to all of Alabama’s history – including the Civil War, the World Wars, and the Civil Rights movement – for generations to come.

We’ve seen a wave of political correctness sweep the nation, and too often, these attempts have resulted in re-writing of the American story. This politically-correct movement to strike whole periods of the past from our collective memory is divisive and unnecessary. In order to understand our complete history and where we are today, we have to tell it as it happened.

As a lawmaker, I believe it is incumbent upon us to preserve our state’s history, and I am grateful that Governor Ivey, in the face of criticism, stood up for the thoughtful preservation of Alabama’s history – the good and the bad. As father and grandfather, I am especially grateful she understood the importance of our children and grandchildren learning from the past, so they can create a better future.

State Senator Gerald Allen is a Republican from Tuscaloosa.

5 years ago

Alabama should pass the Compact for a Balanced Budget to rein in National Debt (Opinion)

Debt Statue of Liberty
(Image above: A visual illustration of America’s debt piled up around the Statue of Liberty. The full visualization can be found here.)

There are few things as outrageous to Americans as taxation without representation; it started a war. But it is a fact that our children and grandchildren will be taxed for most of our current $18.5 trillion national debt. It is also a fact they had no representation when that obligation was imposed on them.

Our descendants should not be stuck with a bill for federal spending that mostly does not benefit them – but that is exactly what Washington is doing.

Soon Congress will be voting to lift the federal debt limit yet again—as it has done dozens of times in the past. The debt limit debate and temporary shutdowns in Washington have always been pure political theater. The overspending continues.

But why should we expect anything else?

Unlike Alabama, which is constitutionally required to balance its budget every year, the federal government can run deficits, print money, and borrow without limit. They promise ever-expanding programs of federal goodies, and borrow on the backs of our children to fund these leviathan programs that are strangling our economic freedom.

But the irresponsible spending cannot go on forever.

Today, our $18.5 trillion national debt exceeds the value of our annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures our nation’s annual economic output. The U.S. national debt comparatively is worse than that of Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and France. In fact, our debt to GDP ratio is as bad as Greece’s in 2007.

As Greece knows all too well, a nation built on excessive debit is living on borrowed time. At any point, our creditors (China, and the like) could come to their senses and cut us off. We are close to the point of soaring interest rates, massive spending cuts, or tax increases to fund bloated federal programs. It is a grave threat to our national security to put such destructive power in the hands of China, which is the largest foreign holder of our national debt.

That’s why the Alabama Senate just joined Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Dakota in an effort to seize the wheel before Washington drives us over the cliff. On May 28, Republican state senators overwhelmingly passed the Compact for a Balanced Budget, which I sponsored.

The Compact is an agreement among the states to fix the national debt. It advances a powerful balanced budget amendment that would impose three critical reforms.

First, the amendment would limit Washington’s borrowing capacity to a specific amount and otherwise restrict spending to revenue at all times. By freezing the national debt, it would force Congress to live within its means.

Second, the amendment encourages spending reductions before tax increases to close deficits, while still keeping responsible revenue options on the table. It would do so by requiring super-majority approval for new or increased income or sales taxes, while retaining the current simple majority rule for revenue increases that are politically difficult and less harmful to our economy such as eliminating tax loopholes.

Third, the amendment would furnish three “release valves” that would allow emergency borrowing in times of war or national disaster. Congress could pay down the national debt and free up borrowing capacity under the debt limit, or the President could delay less urgent spending when a “red zone” of borrowing capacity is reached (subject to simple majority override by Congress to prevent abuse). If all else failed, Congress could ask a majority of state legislatures to approve an increase in its borrowing capacity. These three release valves would provide Washington with all the flexibility needed to deal with the uncertainties of the real world—but without the absurdity of giving a bankrupt debtor the power to borrow whatever it wishes.

These reforms would force the politicians in Washington to focus on the constitutional priorities of the federal government. Once spending reductions were exhausted, they would encourage long overdue pro-growth tax reforms to close deficits. At long last, the days of kicking the fiscal can to future generations would be over.

By passing the Compact for a Balanced Budget, our State Senate has proudly declared that Alabama will join with its sister states in furnishing the fiscal leadership that Washington lacks.

I urge the State House of Representatives to pass this important legislation and send it to the Governor for his signature.

Senator Gerald Allen represents Tuscaloosa, Pickens, and Lamar Counties in the Alabama State Senate. He is chairman of the Senate Transportation & Energy Committee.