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Top News Links: Thursday, May 25

Feds propose to not share oil revenue with states

Four U.S. states on the Gulf of Mexico stand to lose billions in future payments if a proposal in the president's new budget survives congressional scrutiny. The White House on Tuesday proposed ending a program that shares revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling with the states — and it does so just as those payments were scheduled to expand significantly. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are trying to close their own budget gaps amid a protracted oil price downturn and as the new White House budget asks them to absorb social welfare cuts. – CNBC

Alabama community colleges to get special Apple curriculum

Apple has created a free app development curriculum for high school and community college students interested in careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum, called "App Development with Swift," is a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students app design with Swift, the company's popular programming language. The Alabama Community College System is one of six across the country to get the curriculum. – CNET

Northport balks at paying $1.5M Mercedes incentive

Officials with the city of Northport are sparring with representatives of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority over a 2009 "gentleman's agreement" that would have the city give $1.5 million to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International over 10 years. The money in question, subject of a meeting held Tuesday, is part of a contract signed eight years ago by then-Gov. Bob Riley, the county authority and the car company. – AP/Tuscaloosa News

Jo Bonner has new role as Gulf Coast recovery chief

Jo Bonner, a former U.S. House Representative, was appointed by Gov. Kay Ivey Wednesday as the new chairman of the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, according to a state press release. One of his priorities will be ensuring that the compensation given to the state after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 is used to reverse "wildlife damage, workforce development, infrastructure improvements and tourism promotion, among other efforts." – AL.com

Hubbard’s lawyers say his conviction ‘legally baseless’

Lawyers for former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard argued in an appeal filed Wednesday that his ethics conviction is "legally baseless" and prosecutors stretched the bounds of the state law to bring charges against him. Hubbard's lawyers filed the appeal in the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals as he seeks to overturn his 2016 conviction on ethics charges. – AP/USN&WR

Mobile Regional Airport wins $2.2M grant for infrastructure

Mobile Regional Airport will soon benefit from a $2.2 million federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The money will go toward runway rehabilitation, runway lighting reconstruction and allow for a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle. – WPMI

Dothan’s SAMC forced to cut 80 employees

Southeast Alabama Medical Center, Dothan’s largest employer, will cut 80 of the facility’s 2,800 jobs after a lengthy process of considering various cost-savings measures. Mark Stewart, director of community relations at SAMC, said revenue at the hospital has been trending downward for the past four or five years. In 2016, the hospital operated in the red, recording a loss of $2 million in the operations portion of the budget. – Dothan Eagle

Huntsville mayor urges Alabama to rise up, be a ‘GIG’ state

Mayor Tommy Battle challenged Alabama to become a “GIG” state and provide its residents with affordable access to high speed broadband. “Since Huntsville announced it would become a GIG City nearly two years ago, we’ve seen companies vying to provide superfast internet to our residents and businesses,” said Battle. “Google Fiber was the first to answer the City’s call and understand our vision, and they’ve set off a flurry of competition that is good for our citizens.” – Dothan First

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