The Biz Buzz

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Archives: Feb. 2009

Feb.
26th

Businesses can beat the cash crunch with advice from SCORE

According to advice this week from the Small Business Administration, as banks and lenders have slowed lending, reduced credit lines and tightened lending standards, many small business owners have felt the effects of a cash crunch.


A poll this month by the National Federation of Independent Business says 58 percent of businesses surveyed see profits declining, while 28 percent have lowered prices, and price declines put pressure on cash flow for small businesses.


As part of its "Accelerate Your Success" Campaign, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is offering an online toolkit to help entrepreneurs with

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Feb.
26th

Major Boeing supplier cutting production of 737 assemblies

In a preview of just how deeply Boeing plans to cut its aircraft production next year, a major supplier says it will cut its production of parts for the twin engine jet by nearly 32 percent.


Curtiss-Wright said it it plans to deliver only 21.5 sets of 737 assemblies a month to Boeing beginning in the second half of the year.


The company is shipping about 31 sets of assemblies to Boeing now. That matches the company’s existing 737 production rate. The reduction in production rate for parts won’t be reflected immediately in Boeing’s own production line because

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Feb.
26th

Latest U.S. Census numbers on families

There are some interesting numbers out from the U.S. Census Bureau this week – from "America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2008," the latest in a series of surveys conducted annually since 1948.


&bull With declining fertility rates and the aging of baby boomers, the percentage of families with their own child living at home decreased to 46 percent in 2008, from 52 percent in 1950.

&bull In 1968, 29 percent of married men were age 55 and over, as were 22 percent of married women. In 2008, 38 percent of married men were 55 and over, as were

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Feb.
26th

Former CNN financial editor and world affairs expert Todd Benjamin speaking at UPS on Monday

University of Puget Sound graduate Todd Benjamin is coming home to share his views and to hear the views of students and guests on topics close to the pocketbook.


According to a release from the school today, the erstwhile CNN financial editor and a faculty panel will exchange questions and views with the audience on topics including the economy, world leaders, perceptions of the media and defining moments in Benjamin’s own career.


UPS President Ron Thomas will host the interactive evening, beginning at 7 p.m. next Monday, March 2, in the Kilworth Memorial Chapel.


The public and

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Feb.
25th

Fewer people are buying cars

A new report reveals that fewer people in the state are buying cars, undoubtedly because of the current recession and the pinch it’s putting on people’s pocketbooks.


The state issued a total of 16,802 new vehicle titles in January, down 35 percent from the same month last year, according to Cross-Sell, a company that provides of market analysis report for automotive dealers.


Used vehicle sales fared much better.


In January, 53,022 used vehicles received new titles, down 7 percent from last January.


The top selling new vehicles for the month were compact

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Feb.
25th

State announces 350 summer firefighting jobs

Like the outdoors? Hate fire? Are you physically fit?

If so, the state has a job for you – from among more than 350 summer firefighting jobs announced today by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The department has begun accepting applications for forest firefighter and natural resource worker positions for the 2009 fire season, which begins April 15.

The department is also recruiting for summer positions in the Washington Conservation Corps, according to a DNR release this morning.

The deadline for seasonal job applications varies by region of the state – most are due by 5 p.m. on March 31, 2008. For complete job listings and more information, click here or go to www.DNR.wa.gov and select the "Jobs" link.

"This is an opportunity for students who want to earn college tuition and educational loan repayment vouchers while working outdoors in Washington’s wildland – and get paid for the experience," the department said.

Positions available include Forest Firefighter, an entry-level position that does not require previous experience in natural resources work. DNR also is hiring seasonal Natural Resource Workers with natural resource-related experience to help lead work crews.

All Firefighter positions require a valid driver’s license and two years of driving experience, an acceptable driving record free of serious violations, a high school diploma or G.E.D., and the successful completion of a physical fitness/work capacity test.

The department will provide training to entry-level forest firefighters. Some positions will be eligible for a $1,250 AmeriCorps Educational Award.

Positions are also available in the Washington Conservation Corps, whose missing it is "to conserve and enhance the natural resources of Washington and to help young adults enrich themselves by providing a meaningful work and service experience. The WCC provides the opportunity for corpsmembers to learn valuable job skills and receive training while working on environmental stewardship projects."

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Feb.
25th

IRS offers first-time homebuyers up to $8,000 in a tax credit for 2008 returns

Here’s an $8,000 bonus ($4,000 if married and filing separately) from the Internal Revenue Service.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer and you buy your home before Dec. 1, you have the option to claim your tax credit either on your 2008 tax returns due April 15, or on your 2009 tax returns next year.

According to a release today from the IRS, "For first-time homebuyers this year, this special feature can put money in their pockets right now rather than waiting another year to claim the tax credit. This important change gives qualifying homebuyers cash they do not have to pay back."

To view a revised version of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, click here or visit www.irs.gov. The revised form incorporates provisions from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The instructions to the revised Form 5405 provide additional information on who can and cannot claim the credit, income limitations and repayment of the credit.

Qualifying taxpayers do not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their principle residence for 36 months after the purchase date. They can claim 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately.

The amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is more than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers.

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Feb.
25th

Several state agencies join to launch public-service, anti-fraud Web site

Unlicensed, unregistered, unconcerned about the law, there are buisnesses out there that will take your money without providing the services they promised.


Until now, it may have been a bit cumbersome to protect yourself.


The Department of Revenue and other state agencies today launched a Web site that compiles the answers to your concerns.


Along with Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proclamation of March 1-7 as Washington State Consumer Protection Week, the state has opened www.suspectfraud.com, which offers consumers a single point of access to assistance and reporting.


Is that roofer, that plumber, that electrician licensed?

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