finance

What Can We Do About Student Debt in Connecticut?

May 26, 2015
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The federal reserve has calculated the amount of American student loan debt is over $1 trillion, greater than car loan and credit card debt. Lawmakers are trying to provide relief for students.

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Unexpected price spikes in home energy bills have been a focus for legislators this session, but a new study says even programs designed to lessen the impact of your monthly bill could still be impacting your wallet. 

Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, The Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS AG have agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and pay billions in criminal fines, the Department of Justice says. The offenses range from manipulating the market price of U.S. dollars and euros to rigging interest rates.

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At the beginning of this century, when tech stocks were hot and dot-coms were appearing everywhere, Yale professor and renowned economist Robert Shiller was already warning of a bubble -- and he was right. Years later, when housing prices were skyrocketing and millions of American were betting big on real estate, Robert Shiller again predicted an impending crisis. Sadly, he was right again.

Now, with the housing market showing signs of improvement, many are getting the sense that we’re finally out woods. And with this feeling returns the idea that buying a home today means financial gains down the road.

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Business closures were up sharply in Connecticut in the first quarter of this year. New data from the Secretary of the State’s office show that almost 3,300 companies closed their doors between January and March.

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Two UConn professors who’ve been accused of misusing funds from the National Science Foundation didn’t fully read documentation that required them to disclose a conflict of interest, according to state auditors.

There was no good news for the state from its latest revenue numbers. The Malloy administration’s previous estimates for tax receipts proved optimistic, and an April reality check saw the budget office now projecting a deficit of almost $162 million.

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Each year, for-profit corporations spend billions of dollars on reported lobbying expenditures. It’s a significant investment that’s placed American businesses among the most powerful forces in Washington, and in state houses like the one in Hartford.

Office of Dannel Malloy

A non-partisan working group to help find funding options for Connecticut's transportation infrastructure overhaul met for the first time on Tuesday.

Connecticut’s fiscal crisis is making strange bedfellows. Two groups usually at opposite ends of the political spectrum came together recently, to ask legislators to think differently about saving for a rainy day. 

Courtesy CT-N

State Treasurer Denise Nappier wants to shake-up the way Connecticut pays off its debt.
 Her proposal follows a sharp disagreement with Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget chief over the amount that should be set aside to service state debt in the upcoming two-year budget.

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The world's largest hedge fund is proposing upgrades to its wooded campus in Connecticut. 

The project brings a new set of hurdles after the collapse last year of a plan to relocate its offices to a peninsula on Long Island Sound. 

General Electric has announced plans to sell a large part of its financial arm, GE Capital, as it focuses increasingly its industrial businesses. GE Capital is a big money generator, but also a source of risk that made stockholders nervous. Analysts have congratulated GE on a bold move.

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The state has eliminated its sales tax on certain non-prescription medicines. The change will eliminate taxes on over-the-counter items like antacids, cough syrup, and pain medication. It also gets rid of the sales tax on dietary supplements and vitamins.

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There's a potential financial windfall waiting for thousands of Connecticut taxpayers. 

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Friday that he's learned there is $13.4 million worth of unclaimed tax refunds from 2011 owed to Connecticut taxpayers. 

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What do we make of this economy and stock market right now? Why aren't people more positive about the good numbers? Why do the markets react every time there is a whisper of  raising interest rates? Join us for conversation with Bob and Charles Kreitler, from New Haven's Kreitler Financial, affiliated with Raymond James.

James Malone / Flickr Creative Commons

At the beginning of this century, when tech stocks were hot and dot-coms were appearing everywhere, Yale professor and renowned economist Robert Shiller was already warning of a bubble -- and he was right. Years later, when housing prices were skyrocketing and millions of American were betting big on real estate, Robert Shiller again predicted an impending crisis. Sadly, he was right again.

Now, with the housing market showing signs of improvement, many are getting the sense that we’re finally out woods. And with this feeling returns the idea that buying a home today means financial gains down the road.

Grendelkhan / Creative Commons

Snowstorms are being blamed for a drop in revenue and slot machine bets at Connecticut's two casinos last month.

Senate Democrats / YouTube

State Senate Democrats are hoping to place a limit on administrative costs at public colleges to help reduce the cost of tuition.

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Another ratings agency has placed a negative outlook on Connecticut’s general obligation bonds.

Governor Dannel Malloy's administration welcomed news that three of the four major credit rating agencies have reaffirmed the state’s AA rating. But Treasurer Denise Nappier described the news as bittersweet, because Standard & Poor's outlook on the bonds went from stable to negative. 

Former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has withdrawn his federal lawsuit against state and school officials blaming them for his departure, saying the legal fight's cost was too great.

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The legislature's transportation committee heard testimony Wednesday on two issues: highway tolls, and ways to ensure that all money deposited in the special transportation fund will go specifically for transportation improvement projects -- the so-called lockbox.

Dobelle's Lawyers Want Out

Feb 25, 2015

Lawyers for former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle, who is suing state education officials, cite an "irreconcilable difference" and a failure to pay bills, in their effort to drop him as a client.

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Forty-eight school districts across Connecticut got a total of $428,000 to help them reduce the number of tests taken by students.

Districts are expected to use the money to analyze their current tests to ensure that they align to new state standards, provide value, and are not redundant with other tests.

Back9Network

The Back9Network, a cable and Internet-based network devoted to golfing that opened in Hartford with state assistance nearly two years ago, has suspended operations. Without elaborating Monday, Back9 cited a "temporary shortfall in capital."

The network said it is planning the next steps and will continue to seek long-term operating capital. 

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In a perfect world, we wouldn’t worry whether our food and working conditions were safe, or whether government regulators were keeping track of these things for us -- but we don’t live in a perfect world.

In fact, there’s a sense that if you run a big company, and you’re responsible for something really bad happening, that you’ll probably skate away with a slap on the wrist while somebody else has to live with the damage done.

A huge trove of leaked documents is shedding new light on the secretive Swiss banking industry.

The documents were downloaded by a former computer security expert at the giant bank HSBC, and they were released over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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A Venezuelan hedge fund manager has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for running a massive Connecticut-based investment fraud scheme that involved hundreds of millions of dollars.

Francisco Illarramendi  expressed remorse during his sentencing Thursday in federal court in Bridgeport. He pleaded guilty to several fraud and conspiracy charges four years ago in what federal prosecutors have called their biggest white-collar criminal case ever in Connecticut.

A new report on the growth of court fines and fees that are charged to often-impoverished offenders is focusing on another group that pays: their families.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Republican legislative leaders held a press conference Thursday to call for changes in the state’s campaign finance laws, though leading Democrats said talking to them first might have been a better strategy. 

Joined by rank and file legislators, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said state Democrats have consistently worked to undermine and erode the clean elections laws they worked to pass in 2005 after the conviction of former Governor John Rowland.

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