The 7 Things You Should Be Talking About Today
1. The President of the United States reportedly referred to other countries as “s***holes“, outrage commences
— President Trump made the comments during a meeting with bipartisan lawmakers who were discussing immigration reform.
— The comment was reportedly made as part of a discussion on whether the US should restore temporary protected status for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.
— Republicans have remained largely silent on the president’s words. This morning the president denies making the comment.
2. Toyota-Mazda incentives start to pile up, nears $800 million
— The state already offered the companies $379 million in incentives; this beat a bid from North Carolina that was totaled $1.5 billion.
— Huntsville itself kicked in $320 million including free land and infrastructure improvements.
— A vast majority of the incentives are abatement for tax revenues that didn’t exist before this deal was made.
3. Alabama Republicans could propose tax cuts in Alabama
— State Senator Del Marsh wants more Alabamians to claim the maximum standard deduction.
— Currently, those making $20,000 a year can claim the full deduction and Marsh wants to change it to $23,000.
— Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said the state government’s finances are on sound ground and that opens the door to this small exemption increase.
4. A “Gang of 6” has emerged with an immigration plan that no one will like
— Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin and four others have come to an agreement on immigration, and must now sell it to the larger Senate and the House.
— The proposal includes border fencing, curtailing the Diversity Visa Lottery and imposing some limits on the chain of family migration.
— Some Republicans and the White House aren’t impressed. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “There has not been a deal reached yet, however we still think we can get there.”
5. Alabama wants a cut of Uber/Lyft/ride-sharing dollars
— Gov. Ivey and two legislators have unveiled a plan to create a state-wide policy on ride-sharing apps.
— Alabama is one of six states with a patchwork of rules governing these companies, instead of a blanket policy.
— Drivers would turn 1 percent over to the Public Service Commission and the commission would return a portion of that revenue to the city where it is generated.
6. Wal-Mart cites tax cut when raising their minimum wage, then shutters 63 Sam’s Club stores
— Wal-Mart announced it would be raising its minimum wage from $9 to $11 dollars an hour, expanded its parental and maternity leave policy, and it is giving employees a bonus of $200 to $1,000 because of the tax cut bill.
— Following that good news, the company also announced it would be closing 63 Sam’s Club stores after reports from former employees hit social media.
— The closed stores employ almost 10,000 people, over one million will receive increases or bonuses.
7. Alabama legislators may raise the state’s smoking age
— State Representative Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) wants to raise the state smoking age from 19 to 21.
— The argument is that people start smoking when they are young, this will stop people from smoking.
— The idea seems like a fine plan but seems rather non-consequential, I remember when I was 14, no one had problems getting cigarettes.