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Front Page » September 15, 2005 » Local News » State reform task force panel recommends tax cut for Utah...
Published 3,677 days ago

State reform task force panel recommends tax cut for Utah businesses

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A state reform task force subcommittee has recommended cutting Utah business taxes by $200 million.

But under the tax reform proposal, consumers in Carbon County and across the state will pay an additional $150 million in sales assessments extended to a number of non-medical services.

On a positive note, the state currently has more emergency cash reserves than ever before, noted the latest Trendlines report released by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

The governor's office of planning and budget recently announced that the state has added $58.4 million to the rainy day fund, bringing the total to $145.8 million.

On a negative consumer note, Questar has asked the Utah Public Service Commission for permission to raise the cost of the natural gas the company provides to customers by 13.3 percent.

The four week average of initial unemployment insurance claims filed at locations across Utah registered at 1,024 for the week ending Sept. 3, decreasing 21 percent from the last year.

Weeks claimed by displaced Utah workers numbered 8,823, representing 21 percent drop compared to 2004.

At the national level, the number of displaced American workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits fell 1,000 last week, pointed out the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

However, the federal government expects an upward revision as hurricane stricken Gulf Coast states process applications.

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office has predicted that Katrina will result in job losses totaling 400,000 in the coming months.

Also, the natural disaster is expected to reduce growth by as much as a full percentage point in the second half of the year and push gas prices up by 40 percent from midsummer levels, continued the department of workforce services.

In addition, Hurricane Katrina could cost the nation's farm sector up to $2 billion, affecting Midwest producers who are unable to ship goods by barge down the Mississippi River, continued the department of workforce services.

U.S. business productivity expanded at a slower than expected 1.8 percent annual rate in second quarter 2005, while compensation gains caused unit labor costs to rise more quickly.

Inventories at U.S. wholesalers fell unexpectedly in July, dropping 0.1 percent, while sales rose 0.5 percent on a jump in demand for oil, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

America's business activity increased across the country from mid-July through August even as energy costs rose, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in a report based on information culled before Hurricane Katrina struck.

Insured losses from Katrina are expected to total $14 billion to $35 billion, and total economic losses might top $100 billion, according to risk forecasters. Hurricane Andrew, the costliest storm to date, resulted in an inflation-adjusted $20.9 billion of claims after striking Florida in 1992.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates a quarter-point for the 10th time in 14 months and indicated that more rate hikes are likely because of inflation pressures stemming from the briskly-growing economy.

The nation's import prices rose by 1.3 percent in August as petroleum prices jumped, reported the U.S. Labor Department. However, the remainder of the U.S. import costs remained subdued.

In the United States, the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks are viewed as the catalyst for a period of war and economic worry. But in the oil-rich Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, Sept. 11 is increasingly viewed as the event that kicked off an economic boom, concluded the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

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