Top Headlines: Occupational tax debate, Regions acquires Texas firm

Legal battle with Montgomery likely if Ivey signs bill blocking occupational taxes
The Alabama Legislature on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that would prevent cities from imposing new occupational taxes, a move that could set up a legal showdown with Montgomery officials who approved a new occupational tax last week. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Sells, R-Greenville and filed after Montgomery officials discussed the possibility of an occupational tax, passed the Senate 27 to 7 after hours of debate. – Montgomery Advertiser

How coronavirus is affecting Alabama business
The spread of the coronavirus is affecting world markets, and its impact is being felt in Alabama. How far that impact goes, though, is still an open question. Family Medical Supply on Acton Road in Birmingham began seeing the effects last month when demand for N95 respirator masks began spiking. The store, which normally carries six to 12 cases of the masks, is now sold out and has a waiting list. –

Dow falls 1,191 points — the most in history
US stocks again sold off sharply on Thursday as worries about coronavirus mounted. The S&P 500 posted its worst day since August 18, 2011, and the three main indexes fell into correction territory. Stocks are on track for their worst week since the financial crisis. The Dow dropped 1,191 points, or 4.4% in its worst one-day point drop in history. The index has fallen more than 10% below its most-recent peak, putting it in correction. – CNN

Huntsville approves long-term contract with TVA
TVA’s biggest power customer in Alabama is signing on to buy power from the federal utility for the next 20 years. The Huntsville City Council on Thursday night approved a 20-year power purchase agreement between Huntsville Utilities and the Tennessee Valley Authority. – TimesFreePress

Regions Bank acquiring Texas-based firm
Regions Bank announced this morning it is acquiring Ascentium Capital, a Texas-based firm focused on small businesses. Terms of the deal with Ascentium’s majority owner Warburg Pincus were undisclosed. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. – 

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Geneva auto show canceled after Swiss government bans mass events
The organizers of the Geneva auto show say the event has been canceled after Swiss government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people. “We regret to announce the 2020 Geneva motor show will be canceled,” a spokesman for the Palexpo show venue said on Friday. Organizers said the show will not be held at a later date. “The show cannot be postponed. It’s not possible. It’s too big. It’s not feasible,” the spokesman said. – AutoNews

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