finance

Unfunded Liabilities
12:15 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Connecticut Wrestles With "Financial Tapeworm"

Credit Simon Cunningham / Creative Commons

Warren Buffett has added his voice to the growing chorus of concern over public pension obligations. In his annual letter to shareholders, the legendary investing guru calls underfunded public pension plans a "gigantic financial tapeworm."

Buffett said he anticipates lots of bad news in the coming decade about public pensions, and he stresses the need for prompt remedial action where problems exist.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon March 3, 2014

How is Connecticut's Fiscal Health?

Donald Boyd, Keith Phaneuf, Spencer Cain, and Benjamin Barnes at the MetroHartford Alliance panel discussion, "Fiscal Sustainability: Critical to Connecticut's Growth."
Credit MetroHartford Alliance

Connecticut’s state budget faces a series of problems that have been building for some time. It’s why the Office of Fiscal Analysis shows looming budget deficits in the next two fiscal years.

But we’re not alone. A study of several states shows some of the same trends: Medicaid costs growing faster than states can raise money, which means less funding for education; the federal government cutting aid to states in an effort to cut their own deficits; reliance on volatile tax structures and massive underfunding of public pensions.

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Economic Development
10:06 am
Wed February 19, 2014

DECD Chief Defends Underwriting of Business Assistance Loans

Catherine Smith.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development has defended her department's record on business assistance loans. Catherine Smith gave evidence before the Commerce Committee, saying 1,114 companies have been helped through DECD programs like Small Business Express.

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Philanthropy
1:20 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

New Canaan Couple Among 50 Most Generous Donors of 2013

Theodore and Vada Stanley of New Canaan. Mrs Stanley passed away in July 2013
Credit The Chronicle of Philanthropy / Johns Hopkins University

A New Canaan couple is among a list of the 50 most generous donors in 2013. Theodore and Vada Stanley were number 18 on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual list. They gave $143 million to medical research and to a family foundation. 

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Free Education
8:30 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Tennessee Weighs The Cost Of A Free College Education

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Monday in Nashville, Tenn. In the speech, he proposed spending the state's lottery money on free community college education for those in need.
Mark Zaleski AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:45 am

Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week.

Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.

"So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:33 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Protecting and Growing Your Money

Credit _J_D_R_/flickr creative commons

Our financial analysts look at protecting and growing your money.

On this fresh edition of The Faith Middleton Show, the markets have been dropping despite some good economic news. Are investors truly spooked or taking profits? What's going on? Are we in for one of those rocky years in the market, and if so, our guests take your calls and talk about protecting and growing your money.

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Higher Education
9:13 am
Tue February 4, 2014

New Haven Promise Reaches Out to Younger Children in Effort to Build a College-Going Culture

Student Arianna Taft with Patricia Melton, executive director of New Haven Promise.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR

A recently-released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that as college tuition costs soared between 2007 and 2012, demand for federal student loans increased more than 300 percent.

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Connecticut First
6:01 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Sex Trafficking Forum Strengthens Partnerships; Textbook Costs Examined

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families held a full-day forum on Wednesday about domestic minor sex trafficking. The aim was to raise awareness of the issue and to strengthen partnerships across the state to combat the victimization of children. Keynote speaker Audrey Morrissey shared her experience as a survivor of the commercial sex industry, and discussed her work teaching young girls how to avoid her fate.

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College Textbooks
8:48 am
Wed January 29, 2014

A New Study Looks at the High Cost of College Textbooks

Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

The price of college textbooks has increased 82 percent over the past decade, according to a new study that looks at alternatives to the traditional college textbook.

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Saving for a Rainy Day
12:52 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Connecticut's Reserve Fund is Among the Lowest in the U.S., But Why?

It's taken a long time for states to get back to where they were before the last recession hit.
c-George/iStock Thinkstock

Last year, The Pew Charitable Trusts studied fiscal data from the 50 states to see how each could survive on its respective reserve fund. The results were diverse, depending largely on each state’s population and resources.

For Connecticut, the study’s outcome did not look promising. New England’s Constitution State was found to have one of the lowest-ranking reserve funds in the nation. Alaska, on the other hand, came out on top. But why?

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

In Rebuilding Reserve Funds, Where Does Connecticut Stand?

Before the last recession, Connecticut's rainy day fund was substantial, but it's depleted in recent years.
Credit The Pew Charitable Trusts

Last year, The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed the fiscal data for all 50 states. They used several markers to rank the states, including the amount of money in reserve funds, sometimes known as rainy day funds. Connecticut’s rainy day fund is among the lowest in the nation. The highest? Alaska.

This hour, we find out how states like Alaska got so far ahead, while Connecticut fell so far behind.

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
9:24 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Troubled Insurance Broker O'Garro Due in Court

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Mike Priggins and Kyle Reyes / under30ceo.com

Earl O'Garro, the embattled insurance broker who is at the heart of a federal criminal probe, is due in state court Thursday on charges that he failed to pay his workers.

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School Funding
3:49 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Landmark Lawsuit Moves Forward That May Affect Public Education Funding

Credit Gloda/iStock / Thinkstock

A Hartford Superior Court judge has denied a request by the state to delay the start of a landmark education lawsuit that challenges the way Connecticut funds its public schools. The attorney general’s office had filed motions aimed at postponing the start of the trial until October 2015. Now, the case is set to begin later this year. 

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Higher Education
1:44 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Undocumented College Students Need Financial Aid, Too

Credit zimmytws/iStock / Thinkstock

It's been two years since the in-state tuition law went into effect. It benefits students without legal status who have graduated from a Connecticut high school. The young people who fought for the in-state tuition law for undocumented students are launching a new campaign. Their new goal is to help these students access financial aid.  

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Economic Development
3:29 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Total Mortgage Gets State Funding, Pledges New Jobs

John Walsh, president and CEO of Total Mortgage Services.
Credit CT-N

Total Mortgage Services has announced a deal with the state of Connecticut to expand its headquarters in Milford. The company said it will create 140 new jobs in the town, doubling its Connecticut workforce over five years.

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Connecticut First News
7:03 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

State Bond Commission Hears Aid Requests; Flu Cases Widespread

Gov. Dannel Malloy with members of the State Bond Commission on Thursday.
Credit WNPR/CPTV

The State Bond Commission, along with Governor Dannel Malloy, held a meeting on Thursday. One of the items was a request from the Department of Social Services for just under $6 million to provide grants-in-aid to eight social service providers. An additional request was made for $3 million toward grants-in-aid to non-profits in Stamford, Pomfret, and Branford. 

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Government Transparency
3:23 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Progress, But More Work Needed on Statewide Transparency Efforts

Kevin Lembo is the State Comptroller.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been one month since State Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced the expansion of Open Connecticut -- an online source for state finances -- to include financial information for Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies and federal programs.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Understanding Connecticut's Quasi-Public Agencies

State Comptroller talks about quasi-public agencies on <em>Where We Live</em>.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Established in 1965, the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority has earned its title as the oldest quasi-public agency in our state. Now, it’s one of eleven quasi-public entities in Connecticut, agencies like Connecticut Innovations, Inc.; the Connecticut Development Authority; the Connecticut Lottery Corporation; and the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority -- to name a few. 

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Housing Crisis
11:28 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Foreclosure Tax Relief Measure Expires

Connecticut officials are campaigning for the extension of a federal tax provision that expired at the end of last year. It's the tax relief provided for distressed families that have to sell their homes at a loss, or who go through a foreclosure.

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Ponzi Scheme
1:33 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

JPMorgan Chase To Pay $1.7 Billion To Madoff Victims

Bernard L. Madoff in 2009.
Timothy Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:30 pm

After striking a deal with federal prosecutors, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to the victims of Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The bank will be criminally charged with two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and will admit to the violations. But under the agreement, the bank will receive a deferred prosecution.

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Insider Trading Investigation
11:23 am
Tue January 7, 2014

SAC Capital Manager Goes to Trial

Matthew Martoma in November 2012, outside a New York federal court.
Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images News / Thinkstock

Jury selection begins on Tuesday in the trial of Matthew Martoma, a manager for SAC Capital, who's accused of insider trading. It's the latest court action in an investigation of the Connecticut-based hedge fund that has lasted for several years.

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Congress
6:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate has approved Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve. At a ceremony commemorating the Fed's centennial last month, Yellen sat with (from left-to-right) former chairmen Paul Volker and Alan Greenspan, and current Fed leader Ben Bernanke.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:13 pm

The Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next leader of the U.S. Federal Reserve. With Monday's vote, Yellen, 67, will become the first woman to serve as America's banking chief, heading an institution that was established in 1913.

Update at 6:31 p.m. ET: Some Senators Left Out

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
3:09 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

O'Garro Owes State Another $264,000

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Fortnight Journal

It turns out that Earl O’Garro, the man at the center of the federal grand jury investigation in Hartford, owes the state a lot more money than we first thought.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Connecticut at Work

Dan Haar and Congressman Joe Courtney
Catie Talarski

We're broadcasting live from Wesleyan University, where the Connecticut Humanities Council is kicking off a day-long look at the past, present, and future of work life in Connecticut.

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Advanced Technology
2:11 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Technology Center Offers Help to Small Manufacturers

A five-axis waterjet cutting head can be used to cut intricate, three-dimensional parts on a CNC waterjet cutting machine -- the kind of technology that can be too expensive for small manufacturers.
Credit WARDJet / Creative Commons

Manufacturers who want to solve technical problems or use new advanced processes are being offered state assistance. The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology in East Hartford is looking for up to five small or mid-sized companies for its Manufacturing Technical Assistance Program

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Debit Cards
8:38 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Security Lapse at JP Morgan Chase Affects Connecticut Residents

Credit Elph / Creative Commons

More than 14,000 Connecticut residents may have had their personal information compromised in a data breach from JP Morgan Chase. 

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
12:51 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

For O'Garro, Debts Large and Small

Earl O'Garro.
Credit Fortnight Journal

The line of people who want their money from Earl O'Garro continues to grow.

O'Garro is the man at the center of a federal grand jury investigation looking into $670,000 in missing taxpayer money. The city of Hartford paid him to pay its insurance bills, and he apparently never did.  

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State Budget
9:39 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Connecticut's Budget "Reality" is Called Into Question

Benjamin Barnes, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
Credit CT-N

Republicans in the legislature are accusing the Malloy administration of sugar-coating the state's financial picture. The administration conceded in its annual budget forecast that the state is heading for a deficit after next year's elections. But its estimate of the budget gap was about half of that projected by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis

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Business
6:12 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

JPMorgan Says It Broke No Law. So Why Pay The $13 Billion?

The U.S. government says JPMorgan Chase & Co. knowingly sold faulty mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis. The bank says it's broken no laws.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 1:20 am

State and federal regulators have hailed Tuesday's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over faulty mortgage assets it sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis as a big victory for the judicial system.

But like other big settlements to emerge from the financial crisis, the deal leaves unclear just what the bank did wrong.

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Troubled Mortgages
3:08 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

JPMorgan Chase Will Pay $13 Billion In Record Settlement

In a settlement deal, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay some $13 billion in fines and other payments related to mortgages and mortgage securities that helped cause the financial crisis that began in 2007.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:38 pm

In an agreement settling many U.S. claims over its sale of troubled mortgages, JPMorgan Chase will pay a record $13 billion, in a deal announced by the Justice Department Tuesday. The plan includes a $4 billion payment for consumer relief, along with a payment to investors of more than $6 billion and a large fine.

The latest updates on this story are at the bottom of this post. We've also added a few key points to the main post.

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