Economy Feed

I suspect everyone involved in this ceremonial big check delivery is much happier than they appear in this Secret Service photo. COVID-19 federal financial assistance was a boon to many businesses that struggled during the pandemic's height. Now it's Uncle Sam who's getting relief. The U.S. Secret Service today announced the return of around $286 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to the Small Business Administration (SBA). The loans were granted based on fraudulently submitted applications that contained fabricated or stolen employment and personal information. Debit cards to hide, move funds: The investigation was initiated by the Secret Service's... Read more →


Colorado, Oregon, New York, and Montana are the latest states selected for State Small Business Credit Initiative funds. Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash Small businesses revitalization is a key component of the U.S. economy's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. To help that sector's efforts, Uncle Sam continues to provide financial support. Some of the federal money comes from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which was first established in 2010. The SSBCI was reauthorized and expanded in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The newly-reauthorized small business program has nearly $10 billion in federal... Read more →


The state of Texas, which I celebrate personally in my house with many Lone Star-themed furnishings, shows a lot of love for businesses, but not so much for its residents, according to a recent CNBC analysis. (Photo by Kay Bell) The Lone Star State has a storied literary tradition, but it's a 19th century English writer's description that apparently now applies to Texas. It's the best of times for Texas businesses, but the worst of times for the state's residents, according to a Charles Dickens' echoing report by CNBC. The cable business news network scored all 50 states on 88... Read more →


Photo by Amina Filkins In 2021, Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses, more than 20 percent higher than any previous year on record, according to a recently released White House report. In addition, the Biden Administration analysis found that smaller firms created more U.S. jobs than ever before. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers accounted for 1.9 million jobs in the first three quarters of 2021, the highest rate of small business job creation ever recorded in a single year. To keep the entrepreneurial trend going, the Treasury Department awarded the latest round of State Small Business Credit... Read more →


The White House's proposed federal gasoline tax three-month holiday proposal is not just stalled. A metaphorical Congressional tow truck has pulled it from the legislative roadside where it was sputtering. The main reason is, as noted earlier, is surprisingly united Capitol Hill opposition to waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. In fact, lawmakers also have been united in refusing to increase it. It hasn't been hiked since 1993. Another reason is, despite the grousing and social media posts of auto fill-up pump prices, people are still hitting the roads, at least early this summer. That's taken some... Read more →


For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. The theme for this year's week, which wraps up today, May 7, is Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship. As part of the May 1 through 7 recognition of small businesses, SBA Administrator Guzman visited nine cities across the United States to participate in, along with SBA local office personnel and local elected officials, celebrations of the country's 32.5 million small businesses. Since taxes are a critical component of small businesses, the... Read more →


Every Tax Day, millions of Americans complain about how much money they hand over to the U.S. government and how Uncle Sam spends it. OK, that's every day. But seeing the actual personal numbers on Form 1040 tends get people to focus. That's why the National Priorities Project (NPP), a Northampton, Massachusetts-based nonprofit that for almost 40 years has analyzed federal revenue and spending data, issues an annual receipt of where our tax dollars, primarily from individual income taxes, go. Source: NPP and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Coronavirus shift: The military usually commands a major portion... Read more →


President Joe Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget proposal of a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans, as well as a levy on unrealized gains on assets (including stock holdings), is getting the most attention. Biden's plan to collect at least a 20 percent tax on U.S. households worth more than $100 million would apply to about 20,000 households, but more than half the revenue would come from households worth more than $1 billion, according to White House estimates. It also would, says the administration, help reduce the nation's budget deficit by $1 trillion over the next decade. Wish list only:... Read more →


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels Inflation is the biggest domestic, and political, concern right now. And after months of waiting, the Federal Reserve's expected reaction to rising prices came last week. The board members of the United States' central bank raised interest rates on Wednesday, March 16, for the first time since 2018. The bump of a quarter percentage point to its benchmark rate is the first of expected increases to combat the country's highest inflation in four decades. When all is said and done, most financial observers say the previously near-zero interest rates to be near 2 percent... Read more →


Tanker unloading crude oil (Photo by Hervé Cozanet, Marine-Marchande/Wikipedia Commons) Energy is on a lot of folks' minds right now. Europeans are keeping even warier eyes on Russia's invasion of Ukraine after an attack set off a fire at the continent's largest nuclear power plant. The immediate not horrific news is that there's no sign of radiation leaks at the Zaporizhzhia facility. However, damages to the infrastructure have left the nearly 53,000 residents of the Ukrainian city of Energodar almost without heat. It's unclear what the Russians, who've taken control of the plant grounds, are planning to do with the... Read more →


SoFiStadium.com It's a Sunday afternoon, so of course I'm channel surfing watching sports. Not only are the various athletic offerings great entertainment, they produce big bucks for teams and athletes. They also cost us taxpayers, regardless of whether we attend or watch the events, big time, especially when cities and states help build the sporting facilities. Since 2000, subsidies for financing professional sports stadiums have cost taxpayers $4.3 billion, according to three members of Congress. Since the owners of the sports teams that use the sites are raking in billions of dollars every year, the Democratic trio has introduced a... Read more →


Shutterstock If you're celebrating the end of 2021 and welcoming 2022 with an adult beverage at midnight, enjoy! When you bought your booze, you might have noticed it cost a bit more, especially if you go bubbly. Apparently, says Wine Searcher, "The much-vaunted Champagne drought of 2021 is real – and it's starting to show in the retail sector." Wine Enthusiast says here in the United States, we're in the early stages of a Champagne shortage that is expected to last several years. When things are hard to get, the ol' law of supply and demand means the price tag... Read more →


This lord a-leaping and his nine other colleagues will cost you a hefty sum this year if you give them and the 11 other gifts inspired by the "12 Days of Christmas" carol to your true love. (Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels) Did you survive Black Friday shopping? More to the point, did your bank account survive? The crowds this year apparently were smaller, but the freedom to shop in real life didn't offer as many savings. Plus, there was inflation. As everyone knows by now, prices have been rising. That definitely is true for the annual PNC Financial... Read more →


As the fight continues on Capitol Hill over how to pay for President Joe Biden's economic and infrastructure plans, property taxes are getting a lot of attention. In one case, it's the real and continuing battle by some lawmakers to repeal or at least revise the itemized deduction limit on state and local taxes, including income and real estate levies collected at those governmental levels. In the other, it's a false claim about a new, nationwide real estate tax. SALT deduction change: First, a look at the real taxes, the state and local taxes, or SALT, collected by almost every... Read more →


The loss of tax revenue is substantial, since most states collect tax (or are supposed to) on all their meals, from eat-in to pick up to delivery. Tasty and taxable. (Photo by Adrienn via Pexels) Running a restaurant poses many challenges. Dealing with increased food costs. Hiring and training staff. Finding an accessible and affordable location. Complying with health and other regulatory rules. Paying taxes. The tax consideration is getting special attention in California, where an extended investigation reveals that around a fifth of the state's restaurants are using high-tech methods to skip out on taxes. "The California Department of... Read more →


Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments are producing a financial benefit to more than the families receiving the money. The early tax credit amounts, which started going out in July and will continue through December, also appear to keep more workers on the job. That's a finding from a report by Humanity Forward, which partnered with researchers at the Washington University of St. Louis, Appalachian State, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and the Urban Institute to examine the potential effects of the tax break. In addition, the tax credit also is encouraging some to follow through on entrepreneurial plans. Popular tax... Read more →


Photo by sarachicad via Flickr CC Since COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, both employers and employees have been struggling to recover. There was hope when vaccines became widely available in early 2021, things would change. Coronavirus jab hesitancy and the Delta variant wrecked that. Some blamed added federal unemployment benefits on the trouble companies had finding staff when they reopened. Others said it was the businesses' fault for not offering better wages and benefits. Now, in the midst of the Great Resignation in which millions of workers have opted not to return to their prior workplaces, companies are still... Read more →


Sin taxes, those government levies on products or activities generally deemed as not good for us, typically are a favorite revenue raiser for states. Now Uncle Sam, or at least Capitol Hill Democrats looking for ways to pay for their proposed $3.5 trillion economic package, are taking a page from their state tax counterparts. One of the suggested taxes is a hike of the current federal excise tax on cigarettes and cigars. Another is a new tax on vaping. The House Ways and Means Committee summary of the taxes says: This provision doubles the current rate of excise taxes on... Read more →


The Great Resignation created by folks deciding not to return to their jobs after extended COVID-19 absences has led to a lot of new businesses. That means there a many new bosses out there, most of them dealing with a different part of the Internal Revenue Service for the first time. As business owners, they potentially face new types of taxes. Exactly which taxes depend largely on how their new company is established. That's why selection of a business entity is a major tax decision. Business entity options: As part of 2021's National Small Business Week, sponsored annually by the... Read more →


Who hasn't felt this way at work from time to time? This year, after COVID-forced reassessment of their jobs, millions decided to quit. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, including workplaces. Where offices stayed open or reopened, there are the coronavirus precautions, such as work station spacing and staff masking. Other offices are allowing or requiring their staff to work remotely. Hello home offices (that, sorry, likely aren't tax deductible) and Zoom glitches. COVID also gave us the worst-case scenario for too many workers. Reduced consumer demand meant some businesses needed... Read more →