Senate rejects Social Security bonus payment
The Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposal by President Barack Obama to give people on Social Security a $250 bonus check. Republicans and Democratic deficit hawks combined to reject the idea by a 50-47 vote. The plan, offered in the Senate by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would have added $14 billion to the out-of-control budget deficit. The vote came as the Senate debated a $100 billion-plus measure to extend unemployment assistance, revive a bevy of popular but expired tax breaks, help states with soaring Medicaid costs and prevent doctors from having to absorb big cuts in Medicare payments.
The costly measure follows passage Tuesday of a stopgap $10 billion measure to fund several of the same programs through the end of the month. [Read the full article]
Former Mayor Larry Langford, who was ousted after being convicted of bribery, won 555 electronic bingo jackpots over three years at a casino run by a longtime friend and supporter, according to newly disclosed tax records.
The tax returns show he claimed winning about $1.5 million gambling at various casinos from 2006 to 2008, but he says he lost at least that much.
On one day in 2008, he won 36 jackpots totaling $96,000 at VictoryLand, owned by Milton McGregor.
Langford was automatically removed from office when he was convicted in October of taking cash and gifts worth some $235,000 from a Montgomery investment banker in exchange for directing lucrative sewer bond business to the banker’s firm.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Phillips is recommending that the 63-year-old get from 24 to 30 years, partly because of his “blatant and hostile failure to accept responsibility” for his crimes. [Read the full article]
A bill reducing Hawaii’s large hike in unemployment taxes paid by businesses is heading to Gov. Linda Lingle for her signature.
The Senate passed the measure unanimously Wednesday. It must be signed into law by March 12, when tax bills are mailed to businesses.
Business taxes were scheduled to go up from an average of $90 per employee each year to $1,070, but this bill reduces the increase to $630 per employee.
The tax increase is needed to keep the state’s unemployment benefits flowing to laid-off workers. [Read the full article]
In his 2008 state-of-the-state speech, Gov. John Lynch called on lawmakers to enact a new tax credit to encourage businesses to create jobs in New Hampshire’s northernmost and poorest county.
Long dependent on the timber industry, Coos County had sustained hundreds of job losses in recent years from paper mills closing. Six months later, flanked by businessmen who promised to use the credits to bring jobs to the region, Lynch signed the Coos County Job Creation Tax Credit into law.
But Lynch’s lofty goal of rejuvenating the county fizzled with the economy and the region’s continued lack of broadband Internet, cellular coverage and other infrastructure needed to attract business.
Since the law took effect 21 months ago, only four companies have been awarded the credits, according to records reviewed by The Associated Press. Seven jobs were created, but one worker has since been laid off, the AP found. [Read the full article]