Economic Gardening
9:29 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Nurturing Small Business Growth In The "Economic Garden"

Harriet Jones

It’s spring, and lots of us are busy in the garden, making things grow. Some experts on business development think it’s also time Connecticut’s towns and cities began gardening – economic gardening, that is. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Economic development, like any other field is prone to fashions. One minute it’s tax incentives, another it’s industry clusters or enterprise zones. But one city in Colorado came up with an idea more than 20 years ago that’s been slowly spreading ever since. Economic gardening.

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Gas Prices
2:41 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Swipe Fees Hit Retailers, Customers

Harriet Jones

As the price of gas climbs past $4 a gallon, there’s another phenomenon you may well have noticed at the pump – the re-emergence of cash and credit pricing. It comes as some retailers renew the push for legislation to curb credit card swipe fees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

It’s a busy lunchtime at J & A Gas and Go, a filling station on the main drag into Manchester.  And while most customers simply swipe their cards at the pump, some come inside before filling up.

“I’m getting gas – how much? -- five on two …..”

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International Trade
1:58 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Connecticut Firms Seek Chinese Investors

Connecticut has many links with China, and companies from the state have been on successful trade missions to sell goods there. But this weekend a different kind of mission will set out for China – one that aims to bring investment back to the state. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Connecticut has had links with China’s Shandong province, its sister state for some 25 years. John Schuyler of accounting and advisory firm Marcum, was among the representatives who went out with that very first twinning mission. He’s been back more recently.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:54 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Slate's Matthew Yglesias On Why 'The Rent Is Too Damn High'

Flickr Creative Commons, stevendamron

Let's say you're married. You have a dog. Your first child is on the way, but it's 2012 and the economy's not doing so hot and you're living in your parent's basement.

You have to get out, that's for sure. So what do you do? Do you buy a house or do you buy a rental?

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Health Care
3:24 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Murphy Stands Behind Health Overhaul

The U-S Supreme Court begins deliberations on the nation's health care overhaul law next week.  At issue is the act's highest profile piece -- the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, or face a penalty.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

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Open for Business
8:12 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

How Business Friendly Is Connecticut?

Governor Malloy has declared Connecticut open for business. But many business lobbyists continue to say it’s one of the least business friendly states in the nation.  So who’s right?  WNPR’s Harriet Jones takes a look at a new analysis of Connecticut’s competitiveness.

This year’s debate over the minimum wage has crystallized a lot of views of Connecticut’s legislature as anti-business.

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4:42 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Segarra's New City Ride

Correction: The mayor's new car is not the black one originally pictured.

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9:58 am
Thu March 15, 2012

McMahon Presents Jobs Plan

Last year, Republican Linda McMahon ran unsuccessfully for the U-S Senate seat now held by Democrat Richard Blumenthal. She's running again -- this time for the seat being vacated by Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. McMahon -- the former wrestling executive -- held a press conference yesterday to present her six-point jobs plan.  The proposal includes a middle class tax cut for individuals and families, a reduction in the business tax rate, and an effort to restrain federal borrowing, debt, and spending.

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Proposed Bills
9:25 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Minimum Wage Proposal Provokes Controversy

The legislature’s labor committee will hear testimony this week on a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage. After last year’s successful passage of paid sick leave there are indications it may be a tough political battle. Many businesses also say it’s too soon in a weak economic recovery to further raise their costs. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

House Speaker Chris Donovan, introducing his legislation to raise the minimum wage, invoked some high profile bi-partisan support.

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Income and Housing
2:58 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Low-Income Renters Struggle to Find Housing

Home values continue to fall, and yet housing is becoming increasingly difficult to afford. As WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, a new study from the Center for Housing Policy shows the situation is particularly dire in Connecticut.

In 2010, nearly a quarter of all working households suffered from what’s called a “severe housing cost burden.” That means more than 50 percent of households' income goes toward housing. The problem is worst for people who are renting. Megan Bolton is a senior research analyst at the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.

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12:07 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Award Winning Retailer Closes Doors

Harriet Jones

  We’re told the economic recovery is gaining pace, but some businesses are still finding it hard to keep their footing in this changed economic landscape. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on one high profile business failure in Connecticut this week.

The tills are ringing briskly at North Cove Outfitters in Old Saybrook, but that’s because bargains are flying off the shelves in a liquidation sale. Regular customer Mike Campbell summed up the mood.

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Government Candidates
4:36 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Malloy And Republicans Differ On Deficit

Where We Live
11:41 am
Tue February 7, 2012

The Freakonomics Of Everything

“Freakonomics” changed the way we think about...well, everything. About people’s motivations, their actions, their desires and dreams.

Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt found ways to tell stories that explain how economies work - that drew us in, and made us question the conventional wisdom.

Now, of course, Freakonomics is a lot more than just a book.

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State Budget
11:41 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Business Leaders Call For Fiscal Restraint In Legislative Session

The General Assembly reconvenes later this week for a session that looks to be jam-packed with issues. The state’s largest business organization says lawmakers will have a difficult balancing act. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Where We Live
10:23 am
Mon February 6, 2012


Shai Barzilay (Flickr Creative Commons)

Investment options are endless...Apple, Walmart, Starbucks, Microsoft, Exxon Mobil...but how about countless numbers of local startups around the country?

They might not be the most obvious investment choice. But many people call small business the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of our communities.

So why aren’t we investing more in them?

Today, a look at investing locally or what our guest and author Amy Cortese calls locavesting. Her book looks at this new movement and explains how to profit from it.

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Meat Processing
9:26 am
Wed February 1, 2012

No Relish In Historic Company Closure

Harriet Jones

The owner of Grote & Weigel says he’s still hopeful of finding a buyer for the troubled meat processing company. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones, the historic Bloomfield firm is due to shut its doors in less than two weeks.

The smokehouses at Grote & Weigel’s Bloomfield headquarters are still running, for now.

“We’re reaching a point where we’re running out of meat now and we’re running out of casings and all the other supplies we need to make the hotdogs.”

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Where We Live
10:51 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Income Inequality and Economic Growth

zzzack, creative commons

The November elections are shaping up to be largely about the issue of income inequality.

That’s especially if multi-millionaire investor Mitt Romney gets the Republican nomination - which seems increasingly likely.  News of Romney’s tax rate - around 14% - coupled with outspoken statements from other uber-wealthy investors like Warren Buffett - who think they really should be paying more in taxes than those who work for them - have set up this battle.

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Blumenthal Weighs In
10:28 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Morning Edition: State Of The Union Reaction

Chion Wolf

President Obama warned that "the basic American promise is at risk" in last night's State of the Union address. Mr. Obama offered what he called a blueprint for an economy that's built to last. Joining us by phone to get his assessment is U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

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Where We Live
10:44 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Ranking Metro Areas

BPL, Creative Commons

Today the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program releases its Global MetroMonitor report - ranking the world’s 200 largest metropolitan economies for income and employment growth from 2010-2011.

Now we’ve talked to Brookings in the past about the importance of metro areas but this new study gives a detailed look at trends, and perhaps gives some surprising insight into our region’s metro areas, like Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven and Providence.

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Where We Live
11:10 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Where IS The Beef?

Dave Wild (Flickr Creative Commons)

In this country, omnivores ate over 26 billion pounds of beef in 2010.

All that meat sold for roughly $74 billion. Of course, some of that was the local, grass-fed stuff that food author Michael Pollan would approve of. A lot of it was the “other” stuff that goes into Big Macs and Whoppers.

But even with all those “Billions Served” - times are tough for the beef industry.

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Small Business, Big Struggles
9:50 am
Wed January 4, 2012

The Small Business Year In Review

Courtesy: Eugene Montano

2011 was a challenging year if you were running a small business. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has been speaking with small business owners in Connecticut about the year just past, and looking ahead into 2012.

2011 was supposed to be the year the economic recovery really picked up steam. For small business owners, it depends where you were standing.

“It’s been the toughest year, definitely been the toughest year.”

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Economic Development
11:39 am
Fri December 30, 2011

The Economic Year Ahead

2011 may be remembered as the year that disappointed many of our economic hopes. The recovery was supposed to pick up steam and give us significant job growth, but that wasn’t the way it played out. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has been talking to a panel of economists about the year that’s just ending and looking ahead into 2012.

Certainty was hard to come by in 2011, but Alissa DeJonge, chief economist for the Connecticut Economic Resource Center says at least this much definitively.

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Where We Live
9:58 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Santa, Scrooge and Economics

Chion Wolf

Twas the last show before Christmas and we’re visiting Santa, Scrooge...and an economist.

We’re digging into the Where We Live archive for some of our favorite interviews from previous Decembers.

The holiday season is what many retailers look forward to. Consumers head out or log-on in hopes of finding the perfect present for friends and family. But we’ll hear from an economist who proposes a different idea and he calls it, Scroogenomics.

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Where We Live
10:46 am
Tue December 20, 2011

The Connecticut Economy

The Connecticut Economy is a quarterly review put out by the University of Connecticut that analyzes - well - the state’s economy. The latest edition was recently released and includes an analysis of Connecticut’s quality of life.

One major factor in any economic study is the unemployment rate and yesterday, the Connecticut Department of Labor released new statistics showing a slight drop to 8.4% in what the department calls a plateauing of the unemployment rate.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:35 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Holiday Advertising

Lucky Strike

It's the holiday season! Christmas, Hanukah, Christmakuh, Kwanza, or as advertisers like to think of it, the season when they separate you from your money.

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Economic Development
9:28 am
Mon December 5, 2011

What Price Local Jobs?

Harriet Jones

Connecticut has been obsessed this year with questions about economic development. How much public money should be spent to help private businesses create jobs?  Which investments make the most sense with limited resources?  Many towns are dealing with these questions on the local level. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a successful entrepreneur in Groton – who needs help from the town to create more jobs.

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Where We Live
10:49 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Did the Supercommittee Fail?

Kevin Burkett (Flickr Creative Commons)

So, the “super committee” failed to reach a deficit-reduction plan - now, “automatic” cuts loom.

While this is undeniably true - the impact of the committee’s “failure” can be read many ways: One is that it actually helped to divert attention away from the debt ceiling battle in Congress until after the 2012 election.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:47 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

The Currency Show

totalAldo, Flickr Creative Commons

We're still a long way from becoming a "cashless" society, and maybe we never will be one, because the phrase freaks some people out. Cashless society means, to them, some kind of mark or implant on your hand or head and a surrendering of freedom and control to a shadowy blobby new world order. But there are changes in the world of currency and tender, legal and otherwise. Several online worlds have spawned their own currencies which can, in turn, be spent in the physical world under certain circumstances. 

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