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People with old Social Security debts get reprieve PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 07:02

WASHINGTON (AP) — People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve — for now.

The Social Security Administration had been participating in a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments that happened more than a decade ago.

On Monday, Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said she was suspending the program while the agency conducts a review.

Social Security recipients and members of Congress complained that people were being forced to repay overpayments that were sometimes paid to their parents or guardians when they were children.

The Social Security Administration says it has identified about 400,000 people with old debts. They owe a total of $714 million.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 07:04
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Minnesota joins states raising minimum wage PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BRIAN BAKST, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 06:33

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Tens of thousands of Minnesota workers have big raises coming their way, courtesy of a new minimum wage law that Gov. Mark Dayton signed Monday, which will take the state from one of the nation's lowest rates to among the highest.

At a ceremony in the Capitol's Rotunda, Dayton hailed the hourly jump of more than $3 spread over the next few years as providing "what's fair" for hard work put in. He said he has been stunned by GOP resistance — it passed the Legislature with only Democratic votes — to increasing the guaranteed wage from $6.15 per hour now to $9.50 by 2016 and then tie it to inflation.

"We're not giving people any ticket into the upper-middle class," Dayton said. "We're giving them hope."

Minnesota goes from having one of the nation's lowest minimums to among the highest. With federal wage legislation stuck in Congress, states are rushing to fill the void. California, Connecticut and Maryland have passed laws pushing their respective wages to $10 or more in coming years, and other states are going well above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Not all Minnesota workers have qualified for the federal minimum, which is required if someone engages in an interstate transaction such as swiping a credit card at the cash register.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 06:41
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Whitefish shortage causing Passover meal problems PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOHN FLESHER, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 06:40

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A shortage of whitefish in the Great Lakes region resulting partly from the winter deep freeze is coming at an inconvenient time for Jewish families: the Passover holiday, when demand is high because it's a key ingredient in a traditional recipe.

Markets in Chicago and Detroit were among those struggling to fill whitefish orders before the beginning of the eight-day celebration Monday evening, and a representative of a commercial fishing agency said the shortfall extended as far as New York.

"Everybody's pulling their hair out," said Kevin Dean, co-owner of Superior Fish Co., a wholesaler near Detroit whose latest shipment provided just 75 pounds of whitefish although he requested 500 pounds. "I've never seen it this bad this time of year."

The dish that inspires such angst is gefilte fish, which somewhat resembles meat loaf or meatballs. Recipes handed down for generations vary but typically call for ground-up fish and other components such as onions, carrots, eggs and bread crumbs. Other fish such as cod, pike and trout are sometimes a part of the mix, but whitefish is especially popular.

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Is hot market for IPOs cooling? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by STEVE ROTHWELL, AP Markets Writer   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 06:32

NEW YORK (AP) — A hot market for initial public offerings may soon face a cooler reception from investors.

IPOs are having their best start to a year since 2000. Eighty-nine companies have raised $19 billion through sales of new stock so far in 2014, according to Dealogic. But demand for more offerings depends largely on the health of the broader market, and after last week's sell-off, the clamor from buyers may quiet down.

Auto financing company Ally Financial and hotel operator La Quinta Holdings had lukewarm receptions for their IPOs last week.

La Quinta priced its shares at $17 each, lower than its expected range of $18 to $21, which suggested less demand. The stock rose slightly in its debut Wednesday then fell the next two days to end the week below it original offer price. Ally, the largest IPO this year, priced its shares at $25 each, the bottom of its expected range of $25 to $28. The former financing arm of General Motors fell 4 percent in its premiere Thursday, closing at $23.98. On Monday, both stocks ended below their IPO price.

Some companies delayed their IPOs last week as the stock market turned bumpy. Paycom Software, a human resources software company, and City Office REIT, a real estate investment firm for office properties, were expected to launch. But their IPOs didn't happened and the companies are expected to try to complete them this week.

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