finance

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UConn's basketball dominance is great for school spirit, but it's also helping raise money the university puts towards improving its facilities.

Each year, the state treasurer's office issues UConn Bonds. If you buy them, you're investing in things like the improvements to the university's health center, or building new dorms or study halls on its various campuses.

Assistant Treasurer Sarah Sanders said they've always sold well each year since they were first issued in 1995. But this year was special.

A gambling slump is eating into the profits of Mohegan Sun, but the 2,000 tribal members who draw benefits from the massive casino aren't feeling the pinch.

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A group of undocumented students in Connecticut is urging state higher education agencies to allow them access to a state financial aid program, known as institutional aid. But higher education officials said their hands are tied.

J Holt

By the time Bristol's West End Pizza was ready to open its doors on Saturday morning, there were a dozen patrons already outside, waiting to get in. You may have heard of a flash mob. Well, this is a financial version. The family owned pizzeria was the target of a "cash mob," which is essentially a group of people joining forces to give a business a really good day. 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down an overall cap on the amount that large campaign donors can give to parties and candidates in a two-year election cycle.

In a 5-4 decision split between conservatives and liberals on the high court, the court said the limits were a violation of the First Amendment.

Rowland Again In the Spotlight

Apr 1, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

A former congressional candidate and her husband have admitted to conspiring with former Connecticut Governor John Rowland to pay him off the books for work as a campaign consultant.

It's a truism in the financial industry that women need to get more out of their money than men since they live longer and make less, especially if they take time out to care for children or aging parents. But it's also a given that they lack confidence when it comes to investing, something that's clear on a recent evening at the Women's Center in Vienna, Va.

Governor Dannel Malloy is running for a second term as governor. He made the announcement in Hartford today. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will also be running for re-election. Malloy said because of the need to begin the process of setting up the infrastructure for fundraising in order to qualify for public financing, he and Wyman couldn't wait until the end of the legislative session in May to get started.

As the first woman to lead the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde is among an elite group of people determining how money is saved, spent and invested worldwide.

It's not the first time she's been a "first." Lagarde was France's first female finance minister, and before that, the first woman to chair the global law firm Baker & McKenzie.

Ever since the Watergate era, taxpayers have been able to check a box on their federal tax returns and designate a little bit of their tax payment to help finance the presidential campaigns and wean politicians away from big donors.

The public financing program has had its ups and downs. But now President Obama is prepared to sign legislation that, for the first time, takes taxpayer money out of the fund.

First of all, let's pause to reflect on some of the great moments of American political conventions brought to you by presidential matching funds.

Facebook announced a pretty big purchase on Tuesday: The social media giant said it was acquiring Oculus VR, a company that makes virtual reality goggles, for $2 billion.

The deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook, which the company values at $1.6 billion.

Somewhere under all of that melting snow, there's a warming economy.

"Adverse weather conditions" have hurt economic growth so far this year, but things are headed in the right direction now, according to a forecast released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics.

"Conditions in a variety of areas — including labor, consumer and housing markets — are expected to improve over the next two years, while inflation remains tame," Jack Kleinhenz, NABE president and chief economist for the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.

Google. Twitter. Facebook. Back before they got big, companies like these were just startup ideas, born in dorm rooms and run out of garages. Then came the venture capitalists: rich, older men ready to fund the brilliant ideas of younger, creative men.

But what if you are a woman with a startup idea? A new study says you might not do so well. It's been well-documented that businesses started by women receive very little venture capital money.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Municipal leaders from across the state came to the capitol Wednesday to speak to legislators about their budget concerns. 

If you want to get an earful about paying for college, listen to parents from states where tuition and fees have skyrocketed in the last five years. In Arizona, for example, parents have seen a 77 percent increase in costs. In Georgia, it's 75 percent, and in Washington state, 70 percent.

The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut officials have welcomed a report on the progress of the Jackson Laboratory site in Farmington. Jackson Labs said its new facility is on schedule and on budget.

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Governor Dannel Malloy's proposal to give Connecticut taxpayers a modest rebate was up for discussion before the General Assembly's tax-writing committee on Thursday. Budget chief Benjamin Barnes said it could be a job generator in the state.

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Legislators want to create a state-sponsored retirement plan for private sector workers in Connecticut. A bill before lawmakers would task the state treasurer with administering a low-cost plan that residents could pay into. 

CMLS

Connecticut's housing market continued to improve in January, and market-watchers said it's possible the state could see big gains in the spring selling season.

The state also saw distinct improvement in its housing market activity for the full year of 2013, with sales up six percent and prices rising 8.3 percent over the year. The numbers come from the Warren Group, a real estate data firm, and it marks the best full year results for the Connecticut market since 2005, before the market crash.

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Thirteen Connecticut residents appear on this year's list of the nation's billionaires, compiled by Forbes Magazine. The list, released annually, includes 1,645 billionaires worldwide. 

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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.

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.

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.

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. 

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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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.

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.

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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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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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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