Local (Alabama) Economy

Norris: Washington should focus on economic growth

May 1, 2017, by John Norris

A lot of folks have asked my opinion on the Administration’s tax reform proposals. I think I have surprised them with my less than sophisticated response: anything is better than doing nothing. As the old saying goes, if you are standing still, you are falling behind. In helping run a trust and wealth management department, our Byzantine tax code benefits me professionally. I couldn’t argue otherwise and keep a straight face. Folks will go to...

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Some Common Cents for April 14th, 2017

April 19, 2017, by John Norris

A couple of weeks ago, we raised a little cash in the vast majority of our client accounts. In the grand scheme of things, it was relatively minor across the board. While we would ordinarily send out an email detailing our actions, we didn’t this time as we didn’t want anyone to misprocess our actions as “the sky is falling.” Thus far, the trade has been mostly a wash in terms of overall portfolio performance....

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Column: Norris: Alabama’s economy is underperforming

April 4, 2017, by John Norris

According the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the Gross State Product for Alabama in 2015 was $178.566 billion, in constant 2009 dollars. That is a fancy way of saying when adjusted for inflation using 2009 as the base year. Using that same technique, it estimates our GSP was $171.723 billion in 2005. The good news is we have increased our economic output over the last decade. The bad news is we haven’t increased it by very...

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Column: Is Alabama letting money go?

September 1, 2016, by John Norris

About a decade ago, I made an evening presentation to a surprisingly large crowd in Guin, Alabama, about the potential economic impact Interstate 22 would have on Marion County. It was one the easiest talks I have ever done. After all, having access to the interstate system is better than not having it when it comes to attracting business. As I was leaving, a county commissioner grabbed me by the arm, and led me to a...

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Column: Cost of blanket policies

August 16, 2016, by John Norris

I am on the board of directors of an organization that promotes adult literacy in the Birmingham area. We are blessed to have an energetic executive director and a wonderful staff. However, it is unfortunate we have to be in the business of educating adults, but that is a discussion for another time. At a recent board meeting, the director brought up the upcoming changes to the overtime rules, which will take effect in December....

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John Norris: The chip on Alabama’s shoulder

April 13, 2016, by John Norris

Like many Alabamians, I have recently read an embarrassing number of articles about the mess involving Gov. Robert Bentley. While many of the stories are mostly factual, there is no small amount of gallows humor out there, as well as articles along the lines of: “What outsiders are saying about Alabama.” Having gone to college in the Carolinas for four years and lived in Maryland for roughly another five after that, I can answer that last part...

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Financial experts in Sweet Home Alabama

March 21, 2016, by John Norris

When I was with my previous employer, a large regional bank in our area, I managed a portion of a hospital’s defined benefit pension plan. It was a decent amount of money, and our firm had always done a pretty good job. By that, I mean we had always generated returns in line or in excess of the stated benchmark index. (Read the full article as previously published in the Montgomery Advertiser Friday March 18th…) The opinions expressed...

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Quickest way to poverty? Being single

February 23, 2016, by John Norris

Recently, I attended a reception celebrating the opening of our office off Taylor Road. More than a fistful of people commented on my columns to the Montgomery Advertiser, and there was roughly an even split between those who think I am either too negative or too positive. The most flattering remarks came from a former high school teacher, who told me she occasionally used my column in her economics classes to help teach basic principles....

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Alabama’s economy hard to gauge

February 9, 2016, by John Norris

I get a fair number of requests to address groups whenever the economy seems shaky or the markets fall apart. I am ordinarily happy to do this, and have turned down only a fistful of invites in my career. As I have said numerous times: “the thought of public speaking is terrifying to so many people, I could probably recite the dern telephone book, and still get pats on the back for a job well...

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Best thing for local economy: adequate police force

December 7, 2015, by John Norris

According to FBI data, the number of reported crimes in the United States peaked in 1991, and has fallen dramatically since then. Couple this with population growth, and the official crime rate per 100,000 has plummeted by about 50 percent since the early 1900s. (Read the full article as previously published in the Montgomery Advertiser Sunday Dec 6th…)  

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