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Top News Links: Thursday, Dec. 6

State's low taxes "dumb," Bronner says

David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, called the state's lowest in the nation taxes "just plain dumb," saying we have to "contribute" to compete with other states for jobs and industry, and also urged the state to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid. — al.com

Austal turns over first JHSV to Navy

The first joint high speed vessel built at Austal USA in Mobile under a multi-vessel contract has been turned over to the U.S. Navy. — West Australian

Home sales up in Montgomery

Realtors in Montgomery are seeing an upsurge in home sales, according to a Montgomery Advertiser story carried on Equities.com. — equities.com

Profits up, wages down in last four years

Corporate profits are up over the past four years, creating the biggest disparity between profits and wages since World War II. — MSNBC

Bank profits up in state

The 140 banks headquartered in Alabama reported $540 million in earnings in the third quarter, up from $292 million in the same quarter last year, according to FDIC reports. — Mobile Press-Register

Walter Energy buy-up in the works?

UK website This Is Money is reporting that Australian firm BHP Billiton is planning a buy-out of Alabama-based coal mining company Walter Energy. — This Is Money

USA to consider raises for some employees, not others

The University of South Alabama board is expected to vote today on a plan to raise salaries for campus employees but not for clinical staff, saying those raises depend on health care financing including decisions about Medicaid funds. — WPMI TV

Alabama auto production hits annual record

Automakers in Alabama have already set an annual record, with some 810,000 vehicles produced, a month before year end. — Birmingham News

Auburn allocates incentive money for new company

A so-far unidentified company dubbed "Project China" will get an incentives package including 10 years of tax abatement, relocation help for key employees and more for a project expected to bring 105 jobs, in a deal approved by the Auburn City Council. — Opelika Auburn News

Stock split, dividend at ProAssurance

Birmingham-based ProAssurance has announced a two-for-one stock split and special dividend payable in late December. — ProAssurance PR

BAE Systems wins contract from Jackson Offshore

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract for two platform supply vessels for Jackson Offshore; some of the work will be performed at BAE's Mobile shipyard. — Marine Link

SpaceX wins military launch contract

SpaceX has been awarded a $97 million contract to launch a solar telescope for the U.S. Air Force, the first launch contract to be awarded to any firm except the Boeing-Lockheed Martin partnership United Launch Alliance. — NBC News

Property tax case before appeals court today

A long-running court case charging that Alabama's property tax-based school funding is discriminatory will be heard by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta today. — al.com 

Board shake up at ThyssenKrupp

The Wall Street Journal is reporting a shake-up in the ThyssenKrupp managing directors, which would drop the last three who were on board for decisions to build plants in Alabama. — Wall Street Journal

Give NASA a mission or watch it drift

Until NASA has a clear mission from the federal government, it may just drift, study says. — Huntsville Times

Citigroup says "sell" Adtran

Decreased demand for wireline is driving a move by Citigroup to downgrade Huntsville-based Adtran to sell. — Benzinga

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