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Top News Links: Wednesday, November 1

Arkansas apparently out of running for new auto plant

At least one Southern state won't be getting the planned $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda plant. According to KATV in Little Rock, Arkansas officials say the state missed the cut for the plant. Arkansas Economic Development Commission executive director Mike Preston said lack of a prepared workforce may have been one reason for the state's disqualification. – AL.com

Montgomery Regional will offer service to D.C.

A regional airport outside Alabama's capital will begin offering direct flights to the nation's capital next year. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Montgomery Regional Airport officials announced Monday that American Airlines service to Washington's Reagan National Airport is set to begin June 7, 2018, as Montgomery County looks to expand the airport's coverage. – AP/Tribune

Royal Tech plans $14M expansion in Cullman

Royal Technologies Corp. plans a $14 million expansion of its manufacturing operation in Cullman. The project is expected to create 25 jobs. The company produces polymer products, primarily plastic and foam, for the automotive, furniture and consumer goods industries. The 176,000-square-foot expansion will allow for the addition of plastic injection molding lines. – Area Development

Mississippi bank sells $55M in stock to buy Chatom bank

Mississippi bank says it has sold $55 million in stock as part of a plan to buy a bank in southwest Alabama. The First Bancshares Inc. of Hattiesburg announced Tuesday that it has sold 2 million shares. The company plans to use $24 million of the proceeds to buy Southwest Banc Shares Inc. of Chatom. The First also plans to issue $36 million more in stock as part of the $60 million deal. – AP/USN&WR

Viva Medicare rated for top Medicare quality performance

U.S. News & World Report has named Viva Medicare as one of the country's best Medicare Advantage plans, the only Medicare plan in Alabama to make the prestigious 2018 ranking. The ranking is based off the overall quality score it earned from Medicare. For 2018, Viva Medicare earned 4.5 out of 5 stars from Medicare on its Medicare quality performance, the first and only Alabama-based health plan to achieve that distinction. – Business Insider

Roy Moore lunches with GOP establishment he derides

Roy Moore lunched with the Senate Republican establishment he has repeatedly derided. The Alabama Senate candidate and former jurist joined Vice President Mike Pence and GOP senators at their weekly, closed-door policy luncheon on Tuesday. Republicans, who had mostly favored appointed Sen. Luther Strange, have endorsed Moore as they look ahead to the Dec. 12 special election to fill the seat held for years by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. – AP/TimesFreePress

MTS wins $88.6M contract from Missile Defense Agency

Modern Technology Solutions Inc. has been awarded an $88.6 million competitive cost-plus-fixed-fee contract from the Missile Defense Agency for specialty engineering in support of technical, engineering, advisory and management support for the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System. Work under the contract will be performed in Huntsville and three other locations with an estimated completion date of October 2019. – Mil-embedded.com

This year’s winners on lowest tax rate: ExxonMobil and GE at -5.1 percent

Concerns over the proper role of taxation lie at the very foundation of American history. They haven’t gone away, either. In fact, overhauling the tax code is a top priority for the Trump administration, fueling partisan discussions of economic patriotism and debates over whether Main Street or top earners should foot more or less of the bill. WalletHub analyzed annual reports for the S&P 100 in order to determine the federal, state and international tax rates they paid in 2016. – WH

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