QUOTE OF THE DAY
Chicago Tribune: Illinois credit rating takes hit after no action on pensions
One of the nation's leading credit-rating firms put Illinois on a negative watch list today because Gov. Pat Quinn and state lawmakers failed to address the overwhelming public pension debt in the just-completed lame-duck session.
Fitch Ratings delivered its designation due to the “ongoing inability of the state to address its large and growing unfunded pension liability,” specifically noting the outgoing legislature shut down Tuesday without taking action on pension reform.
The credit rating was listed at the already-low designation of “A” but with a stable outlook. It is still rated “A” but now has an outlook known as “rating watch negative.” The move could make it more expensive for the state to borrow money.
Reuters: Flowers Foods to buy some Hostess brands for $390 million
Flowers Foods Inc (FLO.N) on Friday said it has agreed to buy Wonder and other well-known bread brands from Hostess Brands Inc for $390 million, as part of the latter company's bankruptcy reorganization.
The Thomasville, Georgia-based company said it agreed to pay $360 million for the Wonder, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita and Nature's Pride brands, as well as 20 bakeries and 38 depots.
It also entered a second contract where it agreed to pay $30 million for the Beefsteak brand.
Bloomberg Businessweek: The New (Old) Payroll Tax Is Starting to Hit Hard
Shortly after Congress passed legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, with headlines touting that rates had been raised only on those making more than $400,000 per year, some buzz-killing news for the less-wealthy emerged. Workers’ share of the Social Security payroll tax, which had been temporarily cut from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for two years, was immediately snapping back to the higher level.
The result is smaller paychecks for all wage earners, with the country’s economic recovery still sluggish and unemployment stubbornly high. A worker making $50,000 in 2013 will take home $38.46 less per two-week paycheck, or $1,000 per year.
PostCrescent.com: Gov. Walker promises to cut income taxes in budget
Republican Gov. Scott Walker promised Thursday that his next executive budget will slash income taxes, but he called those cuts just a “down payment” on future ones he hopes to phase in as the Wisconsin economy grows.
Walker told reporters following a speech at a Wisconsin Bankers Association economic forecast luncheon he’ll include what he called a “significant” income tax cut in the spending plan. In his remarks to the association he called the cut a “down payment,” telling reporters later he’d like to return more money to consumers as the economy expands.
“It’s incredibly important for us to continue our economic growth in the state, and because of our tough decisions in the last few years we’re going to be in a position to do that,” the governor said.
Stateline: Utah’s Health Insurance Exchange in Limbo
Since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, states have known they would have a choice about whether to run their own health insurance exchanges or let the federal government do it for them. But with only eight months left before those online marketplaces are expected to open to the public, Utah hasn’t made up its mind.
CNBC: Think Only the Rich Will Pay More Taxes? You're Wrong
You followed all of the debate over the fiscal cliff and were relieved to hear that taxes were only going up for the rich this year.
Well, you were wrong.
Because neither party wanted to defend it, the temporary payroll tax cut enacted under Obama died at the end of 2012, which means that everyone in the country will see a bigger tax bite out of their paychecks this year. So when you get your first check of the year, look at the amount charged under "FICA" – you're going to be paying more than you did in December.
CARTOON OF THE DAY