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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri January 23, 2015

The Young and Restless in Connecticut

Downtown Hartford on the Connecticut River.
Ricky Aponte Creative Commons

More young people are moving to the heart of cities, according to a report from think tank City Observatory. This includes cities that we usually think of as “economically troubled,” like Buffalo, Cleveland, and, yes, even Hartford. Some of these cities have been losing their overall population, but gaining in their numbers of college graduates in their 20s and 30s.

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Global Metro Monitor
2:10 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Connecticut Cities Retain Legacy Wealth, But Fail to Grow

Corporate headquarters help to make Hartford the fourth-richest city in the world.
Cliff Creative Commons

Connecticut’s urban areas remain among of the most economically productive areas in the world, even while they struggle to recover from the great recession. In fact a new study from the Brookings Institution pegs Hartford as having the second highest economic output in the country, and the fourth highest in the world.

The Global Metro Monitor takes the economic temperature of 300 major cities around the world. Greater Hartford lies fourth in the world in terms of gross domestic product per capita, a measure of how much economic value is produced compared to the size of a metro area, including corporate profits as well as personal incomes. Only Zurich, Oslo and San Jose rank higher. Bridgeport, whose metro area include Fairfield County, lies eighth.

But another story is told by the most recent data on recovery from 2014. 

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Health Care
3:34 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Senator 'Astounded' That Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Poorest Patients

Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo., is changing its name to Mosaic Life Care. It was the focus of an NPR and ProPublica investigation into its billing practices.
Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 2:11 pm

NPR and ProPublica have been reporting about nonprofit hospitals that seize the wages of lower-income and working-class patients. Now, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says hospitals could be breaking the law by suing these patients and docking their pay. And he wants some answers.

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Energy
2:45 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Regional Power Operator Provides Brief on State of Grid

ISO-New England's control room.
ISO-New England

New England's electricity grid operator said natural gas pipeline bottlenecks and retirement of aging power plants could put pressure on the price of energy.

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Trans Pacific Partnership
12:28 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Rep. Rosa DeLauro Urges Caution on Asian Trade Deal

Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
Credit Creative Commons

President Obama courted controversy with his own party in the State of the Union by again calling for a key Asian trade deal to be fast-tracked.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is opposed by some senior Democrats, who believe it will lead to a loss of jobs here. 

Obama is asking to be given the authority to negotiate the deal without congressional oversight. Connecticut’s Third District Representative Rosa DeLauro said that’s not acceptable.

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Health Insurance
2:59 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Tax Preparers Get Ready To Be Bearers Of Bad News About Health Law

Lou Graham prepares taxes in Connecticut and is ready to answer client questions about the Affordable Care Act.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 4:17 pm

Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.

Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.

"This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way," Smith says.

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Congress
6:23 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Rep. DeLauro Leading Opposition To President Obama's Trade Proposal

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 4:05 pm

As President Obama prepares for the State of the Union address tonight, some Democratic members of Congress are opposing one of the White House’s proposals.

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Taxes
5:09 am
Tue January 20, 2015

IRS Budget Cuts May Make For An Unpleasant Tax Filing Season

Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:18 pm

The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday began accepting tax returns electronically, and paper returns will begin to be processed at the same time. In a statement, the IRS reminded taxpayers that filing electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return and the fastest way to get a refund.

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Hospital Jobs
9:29 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Waterbury Hospital Announces Cuts in Wake of Funding Shortfall

Waterbury Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad.
Credit Waterbury Hospital

Waterbury Hospital announced Thursday that it's cutting positions to deal with a $9 million dollar shortfall in government reimbursements.

Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad said an estimated 100 full- and part-time workers will be affected by the plan. 

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Access Health CT
2:33 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

As Registration Deadline Looms, New Affordable Care Act Applications Continue

Credit Kaiser Health News

Open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act ends in one month, but how many people have signed up so far? 

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School Choice
8:08 am
Thu January 15, 2015

A New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools

A painted map of the U.S. seen from inside a classroom at Homer A. Plessy Community School, a charter school in New Orleans.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 9:13 am

The charter school movement is built on the premise that increased competition among schools will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It seems self-evident that parents, empowered by choice, will vote with their feet for academically stronger schools. As the argument goes, the overall effect should be to improve equity as well: Lower-income parents won't have to send their kids to an under-resourced and underperforming school just because it is the closest one to them geographically.

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Business
6:48 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Dollar's Rise Is Good News For The U.S., For Now

A pedestrian passes a currency exchange in London Jan. 5. The value of the U.S. dollar has risen about 15 percent against the euro since last summer.
Andy Rain EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 8:17 pm

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

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Higher Education
9:22 am
Wed January 14, 2015

UMass Amherst Replacing Book Store With Amazon

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 4:31 pm

UMass Amherst will replace its on-campus textbook store later this year with a virtual store operated by Amazon.

  Under a five-year contract Amazon will provide online textbook ordering through the UMass Amherst website, operate an on-campus pick up location and provide free delivery to off campus addresses in Amherst and five surrounding communities.  UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said the change is being made to save students money.

  "Up to about $380 annually per student based on national estimates of what students pay for books," said Blaguszewski.

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Technology
5:20 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

A Closer Look At Obama's Plan To Protect Consumer Data

President Obama speaks Tuesday at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:55 pm

This week, in the lead up to his State of the Union address, President Obama is talking about cybersecurity — how to ensure our safety in the digital world.

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Unlimited Power
4:20 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

For PURA, Questions Abound About How to Set Rates Right

Guido Gerding Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2011, a few things changed for PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Its staff was cut, and it developed a closer relationship with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Some of PURA's budget and its hiring authority shifted over to DEEP, and the move changed the way the board does its main job: reviewing the performance of power companies.

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Technology
4:06 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Online Security: A Battle You Just Can’t Win?

Hlib Shabashnyi/iStock Thinkstock

The highly publicized hacking of Sony Pictures and Monday’s infiltration of Central Command’s Twitter account are just two of the most recent examples of Internet crime.

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Springfield
12:06 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Springfield Looks to Balance Ethics and Casino Jobs

Springfield City Councilor Michael Fenton in City Hall. Fenton proposed an ethics ordinance that would limit public officials' ability to get jobs at a new MGM casino in the city.
Facebook

The Springfield, Massachusetts city council will discuss a proposal on Monday night that would restrict the city’s mayor or councilors from working for MGM for at least five years after leaving city employment. Non-elected officials considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.

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State Economy
4:42 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Connecticut's Wealthiest Pay Smallest Share of Their Income in Taxes

Credit Alan Cleaver / Creative Commons

Connecticut's wealthiest residents pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than low- and middle-income households, according to a new report from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services.

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Metcalf on Music
4:25 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Hail, Hail Classical Music

Roger Reuver Creative Commons

For the past several years, I have taught an informal, one-credit seminar at The Hartt School called "Communicating With Your Audience."

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Massachusetts
2:21 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Head Of MA Health Connector Stepping Down

Jean Yang speaking at BMC's Cancer Center in Pittsfield, Mass. in Oct. 2014. Yang is stepping down as executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector Jan. 16.

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 4:26 pm

The head of the Massachusetts health connector is stepping down after a tumultuous year in which the state's health care exchange failed and was later rebuilt.

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Bogus Charges
3:43 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

T-Mobile May Owe You A Refund

Senator Richard Blumenthal and Jessical Rosenworcel
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil

T-mobile customers may qualify for a refund after the cell phone company agreed to a $90 million dollar settlement over allegations of mobile cramming. The practice of "cramming" includes when third-party companies add bogus charges to monthly bills.

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Manufacturing
9:43 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Niche Manufacturers Still Attract Big VC Funds

Some venture capitalists are bucking the trend and betting big on manufacturing companies.
Sujata Srinivasan

Later stage manufacturing companies are not, as a rule, high on the venture capital radar. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report, only three out of 53 VC financing transactions in Connecticut went to manufacturing firms last year. Of this, two were established businesses with a revenue-making product. So how are some manufacturers bucking the trend and attracting big VC investments? 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Women In The Workplace

Alex Creative Commons

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was designed to close the wage gap between men and women. More than 50 years later, however, discrimination against female workers continues to persist.

This hour, we take a closer look at wage inequality in our state. We ask our panel of experts why unequal pay is still so common in the workplace, and what’s being done eliminate it. 

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Economy
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Economy Weathers A Bad Winter And Other Storms To Finish 2014 Strong

A New York Stock Exchange trader works on the floor on Dec. 17. Stocks rose nearly 300 points after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to begin raising interest rates next year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:13 pm

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

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Supreme Court
8:50 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Obama Administration Downplays Court Challenge To Health Law

Elisa Carrero assists Julian Gauiria, of Paterson, N.J., with enrollment in the health insurance exchange in November. Signups continue to be brisk, health officials say.
Tyson Trish North Jersey/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 10:24 am

This time last year, federal officials were scrambling to get as many people enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as they could before the start of the program on Jan. 1.

Now, with the technical problems mostly fixed, they're facing a different problem: the possibility that the Supreme Court might rule that the subsidies that help people afford coverage are illegal in the 37 states where the federal government is running the program.

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Springfield
8:45 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

MGM Expects To Start Hiring For Casino Construction In New Year

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:15 pm

Now that MGM has won Massachusetts regulatory and voter approval to build a resort casino in downtown Springfield the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant has employment and local purchasing commitments to keep. 

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Tax Evasion
11:41 am
Tue December 23, 2014

New York's Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty To Tax Charge

Rep. Michael Grimm, seen here after voting in the Staten Island borough of New York City, was indicted on 20 criminal counts earlier this year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 2:49 pm

Rep. Michael Grimm, the New York Republican who won re-election despite being indicted on 20 criminal counts related to a restaurant he owns, pleaded guilty to one charge of felony tax evasion Tuesday. He'll be sentenced in June; calls for him to leave Congress began Tuesday morning.

Grimm, a former FBI agent who represents Staten Island and south Brooklyn, had previously pleaded not guilty to charges that included mail fraud and perjury.

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