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Disasters Reveal Weaknesses in SBA Loan Programs

The Small Business Administration (SBA) released figures on its post-9/11 disaster lending program showing that $245 million of the total $1.2 billion lent is currently in default, representing a 20.4 percent default rate. More than 10,000 companies approved for SBA direct loans received a two-year grace period, between 2001 and 2003, to start making payments and now these defaulted loans are coming to light according to the Associated Press.

Social Security Increase Runs Short

The Social Security Administration announced a 4.1 percent cost of living adjustment for more than 52 million retired and disabled recipients last week. Checks will increase an average of $39 starting in January. This is the largest increase since the 5.4 percent advance in 1991. Last year’s increase was 2.7 percent.
Community News

Preliminary Changes to Current Tax Code Revealed

The President’s Advisory Panel of Federal Tax Reform has urged income tax changes to the current federal tax code. The nine-person bipartisan panel plans to make their final recommendations on November 1 but revealed their preliminary findings this week according to the Washington Post. President Bush established the panel in January to evaluate large-scale alternatives to the current federal tax code.

Pension Deficits Will Continue To Grow Fed Agency Says

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) reports that its claims covering private pension plans could increase the federal deficit over the next decade according to the Associated Press. Senate and House members have proposed bills intended to reinforce this nation’s pension system, however, the agency is concerned about its mounting obligations as it takes over more collapsed plans.

Quick Action in Face of Disaster Shines Corporate Image

As frustrations continue over the government's response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, private companies are looking like the real heroes.Companies gave generously to the disaster recovery effort, providing drugs and medical supplies, canned water, food and more to hurricane victims.

GASB Rules Require States to Record Future Retiree Benefits

Maryland, one of 41 states that provide some health insurance for retirees, and one of 30 that record these costs on a pay-as-you-go basis, may have to direct its current budget surplus to fund health care benefits for future retirees, the Associated Press reports.

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans Rolling Out This Week

Beginning this week, Medicare beneficiaries should expect to receive mailings, emails and calls from telemarketers representing private insurers and health care companies, marketing their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. In California, Medicare enrollees will choose from 47 stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, including the 10 approved national plans, and another 113 Medicare Advantage Plans, reports.
Community News

Louisiana Solicits Proposals for Accounting

The Louisiana Division of Administration is soliciting accounting firms to provide oversight of the federal funds received to assist the state in recovering and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Proposals must be submitted to the Office of the Commissioner of Administration by 2:00 p.m.

New Accounting Problems at Fannie Mae

Citing anonymous sources “close to” or “who have been involved” in the accounting investigation at Fannie Mae, the Dow Jones Newswires said late Wednesday that the company had “overvalued its assets, underreported credit losses, and misused tax credits,” the Washington Post reported.
Education & Careers

Katrina Exodus Proves Just How Mobile Americans Are

America is a mobile society. A fact demonstrated by the 1.3 million households from the Gulf Coast communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that USA Today reports have dispersed to every state in the nation.

Energy Conservation Urged

President Bush has urged Americans to drive less in the wake of hurricanes and fears that our nation’s economic growth may slow down with the current cost of energy. The president also issued a directive for all federal agencies to promote the use of carpooling and public transportation for their employees and to slash their own energy use.Bush proposed to continue the suspension of certain antipollution laws concerning diesel fuel and gasoline to help alleviate shortages and to attract imports.

Cost of Hurricane Rita Lower Than Expected but Still in Top Ten

Insurers including Allstate Corp. and St. Paul Travelers Cos. estimate insured storm damage from Hurricane Rita may reach $6 billion, reports, less than a third of analysts’ early predictions. Paul Supple of State Farm Insurance said that estimates were lower because Rita’s path took it to the east of the densely populated areas of Galveston and Houston.Robert Hartwig, chief economist with the Insurance Information Institute estimates the cost may be less, $4.5 billion.

Mark Your Calendar: Facing a Financial Crisis Teleconference

The Department of Labor Women’s Bureau is holding the sixteenth Wi$e Up Teleconference Call on Friday, September 30 from Noon to 1:30 p.m Eastern. The topic is Facing a Financial Crisis and among the issues discussed will be planning for and recovering from disaster.

President Bush Signs Flexibility for Displaced Workers Act

On Friday, President Bush expanded disaster relief employment by signing the Flexibility for Displaced Workers Act. Advertisement

RIA Projections Give You a Jump on Tax Season

Some people will probably say it’s too early to be thinking about the 2006 tax season. After all, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t even required to release their tax figures for 2006 until December.

Some Quarterly Tax Payments from 13 States Lost in Traffic Accident

An estimated 30,000 tax payments mailed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) post office box in San Francisco have been lost in a traffic accident. The payments were mailed between September 1 and September 11, 2005.

Senate Approves Second Accounting Rules Exemption for E-Rate

The U.S. Senate approved a second temporary exemption for Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) E-Rate program last week Reuters reported. The exemption, according to Reuters, eases the accounting rules governing the funds subsidizing Internet connections to libraries and schools. “This is merely a short-term solution to a problem that must be resolved.

Fed Bumps Up Interest Rate, More Increases Likely

The Federal Reserve raised its short-term interest rate target to 3.75 percent Tuesday, but for the first time in more than two years the vote was not unanimous.Advertisement

Medicare Premiums Increasing in 2006

In 2006, seniors and disabled citizens will be paying another $10.30 over the $78.20 that they are already pay this year. This represents a 13.2 percent increase for Medicare Part B premiums.
Community News

Accounting For Recovery Funds in Louisiana

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the United States, and especially the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, are beginning one of history’s largest reconstruction projects. Congressional estimates for reconstruction costs run as high as $200 billion. President Bush has pledged that most of the funds for reconstruction will come from the federal government. Congress has already approved $62 billion in hurricane relief for areas across three states that were hardest hit by Katrina.


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