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Top News Links: Friday, Jan. 17

GOP tax bills sail through Alabama House

The Alabama House of Representatives approved four modest tax reform bills Thursday morning, accomplishing nearly half of House Republicans' 2014 agenda by the third day of the legislative session. – The Anniston Star

Critics of TK’s Hiesinger want clearer strategy

ThyssenKrupp's Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger asked shareholders to be patient on Friday as he completes what is proving to be a troublesome overhaul of the company. Since becoming CEO three years ago, Hiesinger has been trying to shift the focus of ThyssenKrupp, once a symbol of Germany's industrial prowess, from the volatile steel sector to higher-margin products and services such as elevators, industrial plants and high-performance car parts. “The story with which you tried to enthuse the capital market didn't work. We would like to see a clear strategy," Union Investment fund manager Ingo Speich said at the shareholders' meeting. – Reuters

Huntsville Country Club opening doors to nonmembers

Huntsville Country Club leaders are slashing operating expenses, reducing membership rates and letting the public play the course on weekdays, all in an attempt to save the 89-year-old club. – al.com

Not as grand, but Mobile’s federal courthouse back in discussion

A new $85.9 million federal courthouse included in a massive spending bill passed by Congress this week isn’t quite as grand as the plan a decade ago, but it could still provide some much-needed jobs. – Press Register

Landmark acquires two Birmingham apartment properties

Two Birmingham area apartment communities are among 20 properties acquired by Landmark Apartment Trust of America Inc. throughout the South for $443 million. – Birmingham News

Trade missions planned for 2014

The Alabama Department of Commerce and the Export Alabama Alliance plan to lead business delegations to South America, Southeast Asia and Europe in 2014. – Made in Alabama

Working on a rebirth for Alabama 21 corridor

Anniston and Weaver officials are banking on the completion of the Veterans Memorial Parkway and the development of the McClellan Industrial Park to bring life back to the Alabama 21 corridor again. – The Anniston Star 

Study: Alabama 10th in cash solvency

Alabama ranks tenth when it comes to having cash solvency according to George Mason University, which recently rated all 50 states on how they should be able to meet their financial obligations. – WVTM TV13

SBA disaster loans available for some counties

The U.S. Small Business Administration says federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses and other small entities and nonprofits located in Colbert, Franklin, Lamar, Lauderdale and Marion counties as a result of excessive rainfall and cooler than normal temperatures that occurred from March 1 through July 31, 2013. – SBA website

New Markets Tax Credit helps create 200 jobs in Enterprise

Federal, state and city officials will gather today at 1 p.m. near the Enterprise Municipal Airport to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new maintenance repair and overhaul facility for Alabama Aircraft Support. The development will create an estimated 200 new jobs, paying an average wage of $24 per hour, and got financing from a variety of public and private sources. – U.S. Bank news release

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