finance

What Detroit Can Learn From Other Cities

Jul 23, 2013

As officials in Detroit move forward with the city’s bankruptcy filing, what can they learn from other cities across the country that have gone down this path?

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed for bankruptcy in October of 2011. There’s also San Bernadino, California; Jefferson County, Alabama; and Central Falls, Rhode Island, among others.

David Shepardson, Washington bureau chief for The Detroit News, joins us to explain how other cities have handled tough issues such as whether pensions will be paid.

The freshman Congresswoman is getting big money from outside the state, building up an early lead over challenger Mark Greenberg.

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new data on the cost of college in America. Three Connecticut colleges rank among  the nation’s most expensive. 

Trinity College’s tuition is  5th highest in the nation for private, not-for-profit 4-year colleges. The sticker price at Trinity is $44,070 dollars.  Connecticut College ranks 7th .  Wesleyan University comes in a close 8th. 

The data can be found on the USDE’s website called College Scorecard, which offers students and families a variety of ways to compare the cost of college.

With a July 1 deadline looming, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to stop interest rates on new federal student loans from doubling.  But there may be time to address the situation before classes begin next fall.

About 7 ½ million students nationwide pay for a portion of their college tuition through subsidized Stafford Student loans. Right now, interest rates will go from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1st.

"There is a window of opportunity for Congress to still act."

Todd Huffman / Creative Commons

The backyard beekeepers now include a group of kids in Connecticut. An artist paints gorgeous, impressionistic scenes of World War II, including secret Nazi meetings that took place. There's lots of buzz about his work at the Sand Gallery in New York. And there's lots of buzz about the Connecticut Wannabess—kids into beekeeping and honey. And, if you're wondering about creating a trust and estate planning, we have a CPA who explains how it works and how you can avoid a probate mess.

Todd Huffman/flickr creative commons

The backyard beekeepers now include a group of kids in Connecticut. An artist paints gorgeous, impressionistic scenes of World War II, including secret Nazi meetings that took place. There's lots of buzz about his work at the Sand Gallery in New York. And there's lots of buzz about the Connecticut Wannabess—kids into beekeeping and honey. And, if you're wondering about creating a trust and estate planning, we have a CPA who explains how it works and how you can avoid a probate mess.

Melanie McCue (Flickr Creative Commons)

Connecticut is offering $5 million in emergency assistance for farmers who have been hurt by severe weather.

Governor Dannel Malloy announced yesterday that the assistance may be used to repair damaged property, replant lost crops, purchase feed, apply fertilizer and perform activities needed for recovery.

Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky says the rough winter in early 2011, Hurricane Irene, the October snow storm, Superstorm Sandy, this year's blizzard, and recent rain have taken a toll on farmers.

Stamford Residents Protest Bridgewater Project

Jun 20, 2013
Dru Nadler

Governor Dannel Malloy is going forward with plans to move Bridgewater Associates to Stamford. But some local residents have been working hard to delay that project. They expressed their opposition in a public hearing in Stamford this week.

Governor Malloy’s plan is to give the hedge fund Bridgewater more than $100 million in tax breaks to move from its current location in Westport to Stamford.

Energy Tomorrow, Flickr Creative Commons

Environmentalists are giving state legislators a mixed report card for the session that's just ended. They're happy with parts of the state's new energy policy. But a raid on clean energy funds is causing major concern.

Exporters Shift Focus

May 23, 2013
Sujata Srinivasan

The great recession drove many companies to look for sales overseas. A new survey of Connecticut companies shows that half of those responding said exports helped them weather the downturn. Now, domestic markets are looking up, but those firms still want to diversify across the world. 

 

 

Commercial insurers are very close to revealing the rates they’ll charge for healthcare plans under the new Connecticut healthcare exchange. It’s been a long, uncertain road to get here.

Caviar Takes its Toll

May 9, 2013

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has made headlines recently for questionable city spending -- like dining on caviar at taxpayer expense. Now, it looks as though the city council is taking concrete action to push back. It's likely the council will reject Segarra's appointment for the city's chief operating officer.

When someone issues a controversial audit at 5:02 p.m. on a Friday, it's kind of sign that they don't want you to read it. That's what happened last week, when the city of  Hartford released its internal audit of its credit cards.  

As the region continues to recover in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, environmental advocates are pushing for rebuilding in a smarter way to protect against future storms. As WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, they gathered last week in a summit to discuss the future of Long Island Sound.

Opposition Grows to Bridgewater Project in Stamford

Apr 29, 2013

Controversy is heating up over a plan by the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates to move from Westport to Stamford - with the help of taxpayer dollars. But Stamford officials are under increasing pressure to get it done.

Flickr Creative Commons, Murray State

Don't get me wrong. I like watching college sports, but I wonder what it is we're watching. 

Harriet Jones

A new study says Connecticut’s coastline is worth at least $7 billion to the state’s economy. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Sequestration is already here, but most of us have yet to notice any effects. That’s not true for hundreds of people in Connecticut who work for the Department of Defense in civilian jobs. Right now they are figuring out ways to manage financially when their paychecks take a dive next month. WNPR’s Harriet Jones spoke to some of them.

Sikorsky Aircraft

The war in Iraq has had a profound effect on Connecticut’s economy in the last decade. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it has vastly increased the importance of the defense industry.

 

Connecticut has always had a strong reliance on the Department of Defense, but Pentagon spending here acquired a new importance in recent years.

 

“You’ve seen about a threefold increase since  2003. That’s an enormous number and it’s an enormous part of our state’s GDP.”

 

Ken Teegardin/flickr creative commons

Financial analyst Robert Kreitler is back to tell us about his tricks for protecting portfolios—he monitors the world to decide what issues could threaten our financial lives. And a talk with talented artist Myrna Burks: How does an artist work with spontaneity—her own and Faith's?

Borman 818, creative commons

So, let’s say Where We Live was like the federal budget, and because of some self-imposed deadline, our show was subject to a “sequester” -  A cut of 2.3%. 

Well, you’d lose about 1 and a quarter minutes off the show. Doesn’t seem too bad, right?  But what if it was completely arbitrary - cutting the first minute that explains what we’re talking about, or the precise moment our guest Bill Curry says something that might change your world.  Doesn’t sound the the best way to trim things, huh?

As families struggle to keep up with skyrocketing higher education costs, the Obama Administration has unveiled a new website, which shows what most families end up paying for college: school-by-school.  

In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced the release of the new College Scorecard, "... that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria – where you can get the most bang for your educational buck."

Sujata Srinivasan

Microfinance – or small-scale loans – has rapidly grown into an international business that connects investors with impoverished borrowers around the world. Currently, microfinance institutions (MFIs) operate in over 100 countries and fund more than 92 million borrowers, according to the Microfinance Information Exchange. For-profit firms like Stamford-based Developing World Markets (DWM) invest in MFIs in India, which in turn provide loans to poor entrepreneurs, primarily women.

Harriet Jones

One group that didn’t get the Christmas present they were hoping for this year is the nation’s credit unions. They want to expand their lending to small businesses, but as Harriet Jones reports, regulation – and opposition from the banks -- stands in their way.

Many credit unions have a history of humble beginnings, and the Charter Oak credit union, based in Groton, is no exception.

“We were born in the Electric Boat boatyard, out of a lunchbox where five people put in $25.” 

courtesy mberggr, Flickr Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut is offering financial incentives to small businesses to carry out research for large corporations. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the state is acting as a matchmaker for new projects

 

Innovation is expensive and often risky. It also requires many creative thinkers to get it working. That’s why increasingly many big technology-based corporations are looking for new partnerships and ways to outsource research and development functions.

If you’re planning to buy or sell a house, changes are on the way. The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the tightening of mortgage lending rules mean the industry is in the process of being turned upside down. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

It’s been a turbulent period for the mortgage industry and four years after the financial crisis, the debates are still going on.

Harriet Jones

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was in Connecticut Friday, bringing a two-fold message to the state’s community colleges. She promoted the $12 million the administration has invested in new programs here, but as a prominent Latina, she also spoke about the importance of training the Latino workforce. 

6SN7

President Obama has made it part of his regular education speech that the best path to the middle-class is through a college education.

And the numbers bear it out. Getting a college degree brings higher earnings over a lifetime. Today, those with a bachelor’s degree earned 84% more money over a lifetime than those with a high school diploma.

Harriet Jones

Internships are a common way for big companies to bring on new talent and to decide on possible future hires. But running an internship program can be financially impossible for many of Connecticut’s small technology companies. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a program that aims to change that.

Strain Measurement in Wallingford is an engineering firm that makes sensors, primarily for medical devices.

Brandie, Flickr Creative Commons

I freely confess that today's show arose from my own sense of consumer exasperation. I don't buy many things, but occasionally one's cellphone breaks and one has no choice. I went to Verizon. The guy and I picked out a phone for me.

He quoted me a price of $200 plus a $50 mail-in rebate. With the feeble, ebbing strength of my dying old phone, I managed one final wheezing flickering internet browser. The MSRP for this new phone was 80 bucks. I pointed this out to my new friend.

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