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Top News Links: Friday, Dec. 16

State’s revenue plan doesn’t fit modern age, official says

Officials with the Department of Revenue told the Joint Committee on Budget Reform Wednesday that the state’s sales tax and many other traditional sources of revenue – including taxes on phones – were in decline because the state wasn’t keeping up with technology shifts. “We used to tax about two-thirds of the economy in the sales tax,” ADOR Deputy Commissioner Joe Garrett said. “Today we tax one-third of our economy.” – Montgomery Advertiser

State spends millions defending prison system

The case playing out in a Montgomery courtroom putting mental healthcare of inmates in Alabama on trial is now in it's second week. But that's just one lawsuit Alabama's Department of Corrections (ADOC) is fighting and taxpayers may not realize they foot the bill for this type of litigation. – WBRC

There’s no line to skip at new Regions concept branches

Regions Financial Corp. celebrated its most modern branch concept in the Birmingham area Thursday. The Birmingham-based bank debuted two concept branches in 2014, one of which is at UAB, that feature "universal bankers" as well as video bankers. It doesn't have a traditional teller line. – AL.com

AMG donates photographic archives to state

The Alabama Media Group on Wednesday announced it is donating its massive archive of photographic images— a collection that spans nearly 80 years of Alabama history— to the state. Photographers with The Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Press-Register of Mobile took the images over decades of news coverage, documenting both the mundane and momentous. – AP/Moulton Advertiser

Evonik celebrates anniversary with charity donations

Evonik, a Germany-based chemical manufacturing facility with long ties to Mobile, is celebrating 40 years of production in the Port City = and to commemorate the occasion it made a $40,000 donation to four different organizations this week. – WPMI

Regions raises prime lending rate to 3.75 percent

Regions Bank raised its prime lending rate Thursday to 3.75 percent from 3.50 percent. Regions Financial Corporation, with $125 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index. – BusinessWire

Toyota to reveal powertrain tech to competitors

Long guarded about what was beneath the hood of its pioneering Prius cars, Toyota Motor plans to open up its powertrain technology to rivals, hoping this will boost sales and speed up the industry's shift to lower-emission vehicles. Announcing last week it would expand its gasoline hybrid technology development, Toyota said it would consider selling complete powertrain modules - engines, transmissions and other drive components - to its competitors. – Automotive News

Road & Rail wins award for car-handling excellence

Road & Rail Services, Inc., a Louisville, Kentucky-based leading provider of rail-related services in North America, was recently awarded the Terminal Excellence Award for the month of September 2016 by CSX’s subsidiary, TDSI. TDSI offers vehicle-handling services to Eastern, Gulf and Southeastern ports and won the award for work at their Talladega Alabama Automotive Facility. – News release

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