June 29, 2013 |
BEIJING - Like a boxer slimming down for a fight, Li Zhongjian is shrinking his 20-year-old cigarette-lighter manufacturing business to brace for a credit crunch he sees looming over China's entrepreneurs. Li's workforce in the southeastern city of Wenzhou has shrunk by half, to 300, this year and he isn't replacing employees who leave. He said he used to borrow money but was preparing to do without credit that might no longer be available as regulators try to force Chinese banks to cool a lending boom they worry could race out of control.
June 21, 2013 |
ZOMBIES stomping up Broad Street. Screaming innocents stampeding through Center City. Brad Pitt strolling through Rittenhouse Square. That's what could have been - if the makers of "World War Z" had decided to shoot the flick in Philly, where part of the movie is set. What else could have been? At least $44 million in production expenses finding its way to city businesses and workers. And that's only the money spent that would have qualified for tax credits. Millions more would have been spent on the production that would not have qualified for rebates.
June 14, 2013 |
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican put a new coin on sale last week to commemorate its historic papal transition. Too bad overseas collectors won't be able to buy it for months. The Associated Press has learned that the Vatican still hasn't fully resolved an embarrassing shutdown in credit card services, despite announcing four months ago that systems were back up. The impact has been far worse than the Vatican let on, costing the Holy See sales at a time when Pope Benedict XVI's resignation and Pope Francis' election laid the groundwork for a bonanza in Vatican-minted papal memorabilia.
June 11, 2013 |
Thousands of stunned small-business owners call Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. each week after they're turned down for loans. Jeff Stibel, CEO of the business credit-reporting company, has a message for them: Don't blame the bank. Instead, he said, find out how you contributed to that rejection and work to improve your company's credit rating so that, next time, the answer is yes. Small-business owners need to be just as savvy about their companies' credit reports as they are about their personal credit files.
June 8, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Bring on the lights, the cameras, and the action. So says Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware), who Thursday announced he was introducing a bill to uncap the tax credit for production companies that film in Pennsylvania. The Film Production Tax Credit program is capped at $60 million annually, but its supporters have argued for years that the cap limits production in Philadelphia and the state, let alone do anything to encourage growth. Pileggi and others argue that uncapping the credit could create jobs in the state.
June 2, 2013 |
TRENTON - In another setback for Rutgers University, rating agency Moody's Investor Service has downgraded its credit rating, citing financial stress from its merger with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Moody's said the university's tight finances and limited borrowing ability would be further strained by adding two medical schools, a dental school, and other parts of UMDNJ, along with 70 percent of its outstanding debt. At a legislative hearing this year, Rutgers president Robert L. Barchi testified that the university anticipated a potential downgrade but that it likely would be lifted once the UMDNJ campuses are fully integrated into Rutgers.
May 27, 2013 |
Curt Miller was just trying to get a free annual credit report, his right under both federal and New Jersey law, when he uncovered something disturbing. Miller, of Moorestown, mistyped www.annualcreditreport.com - the Web address of the so-called Central Source established by the Big Three credit bureaus a decade ago to comply with a new federal mandate. He apparently made a simple error, just double-striking a key. Where did he wind up instead? At www.FreeScore360.com , a website that sells credit reports, credit scores, and credit monitoring under the ScoreSense brand name.
May 22, 2013 |
MOORE, Okla. - The principal's voice came over the intercom at Plaza Towers Elementary: A severe storm was approaching and students were to go to the cafeteria and wait for their parents to pick them up. But before all of the youngsters could get there, the tornado alarm sounded. The plan changed quickly. "All the teachers started screaming into the room and saying: 'Get into the hallway! We don't want you to die!' and stuff like that," said sixth grader Phaedra Dunn. "We just took off running.
May 20, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I took care of my husband for 10 years before his death from early-onset Alzheimer's. I am in a relationship now, and I'm finding that a widow's status is far different than that of a wife. Not long ago, I was invited to a friend's daughter's wedding. When I asked if I could bring "Sam," I was told, "No, we don't know him and there are a lot of other people we would like to invite. " I got the same response from my first cousin when I asked if I could bring Sam to her son's wedding: "No, we don't have room for him and we don't know him. " Abby, Sam and I are a couple; he is not a casual boyfriend.
May 20, 2013 |
When it comes to credit issues and identity theft, I sometimes feel like what we used to call a broken record. Almost incessantly, I urge readers to check their credit reports by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Both will get you to the "central source" mandated by Congress a decade ago for consumers to request free reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, the nation's three main credit bureaus. If the reports are clean, I tell readers, there's no need to pay for a credit score - which Congress, alas, did not require the credit bureaus to provide, and did not bar them from pitching via side deals to consumers who request their free reports.