Alabama is solidly Republican/conservative...the last Democrat in elected state office was defeated in the 11-6-2012 election. The entire state government and the Supreme Court are held by Republicans.
Redstone Arsenal, Rocket City (Huntsville), is probably receiving serious federal money.
We have a Black population of 25% that 'draws in' a lot of federal money too.
Also, Fort Rucker and the AF base in Montgomery supports a huge retired population, and don't forget the very large retired population living in the vicinity of now-defunct Fort McClellan at Anniston.
In fact, I'd say that the so-called "entitled" population of Alabama is hugely comprised of retired military personnel, all of which usually vote a conservative ticket.
So...I'm not convinced that labeling Alabama as a death spiral state,when compared to, say Ohio, is valid.