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Top News Links: Monday, Jan. 4

Gun dealers acknowledge Obama good for business

Thousands of people surged past Louis Bakane’s little booth at the Great Southern Gun and Knife Show in Birmingham this past weekend, and he had a theory why. “They’re panicking,” he said. The federal government is closing in, he figured, starting with an executive order expected this week from President Barack Obama. – The Guardian

Lawmakers consider gas tax increase

Alabama lawmakers might soon debate a potential increase in the state's gasoline tax. This increase would pay for road and bridge construction. If enacted, it would be the first raise in the state gas tax since 1992. – AP/NewsChannel9

Stantec expands to Alabama with acquisition

Stantec has expanded its presence in Alabama and Texas with the acquisition of the Infrastructure Americas Division of KBR, which closed last week. With offices in Mobile as well as Houston, Austin, and Dallas, Texas, Infrastructure Americas brings approximately 180 professionals with experience in transportation, water/wastewater, and aviation projects. – Street Insider

More miners laid off at Walter Resources

More than 300 miners were temporarily laid off from their jobs at Jim Walter Resources No. 4 mine in Brookwood. Walter Energy announced the latest in a series of layoffs at the No. 4 and No. 7 mines, once again citing continuing depressed market conditions within the industry, the Tuscaloosa News reported. The miners were laid off last week. – AP/Decatur Daily

Opinion: Alabama lawmakers need new approach

The new year has been rung in, and Alabama faces many old problems, not the least of which are the lingering budget crisis and the lack of any real solutions to making the state’s economy stronger. Much of what emanates from Montgomery these days is legislation designed to keep voters distracted from the real problems lawmakers don’t want to tackle, such as the broken tax code and the growing disparity between the wealthy and everybody else. – Decatur Daily

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