Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Business news in brief

In the Region

Drillers warn against tax

Heads of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, Marcellus Shale Coalition, and Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association are warning state lawmakers that raising taxes on the booming natural gas drilling industry could have economic repercussions. In a letter to 11 top lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Legislature, the trio says the enactment of a severance tax, like those other major gas-producing states impose, could make Pennsylvania less competitive, and drive the companies to shift crews and rigs to other states. Lawmakers are discussing a severance tax to ease a massive budget shortfall. Gov. Corbett, an industry ally, says he dislikes the idea. - AP

Job picture improving

Unemployment fell slightly in May, compared with April, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey - two states among 20 that saw improvement last month, the U.S. Labor Department said. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, from 5.7 percent, while New Jersey's fell to 6.8 percent, from 6.9 percent. The national unemployment rate in May was 6.3 percent - the same as in April. Pennsylvania added 24,700 jobs in May, and New Jersey added 8,400, the department said. Sixteen states had unemployment-rate increases, and 14 were unchanged from April to May, the department said. - Reid Kanaley

Bankrupt Revel funding OKd

John Cunningham, a lawyer for Atlantic City's Revel Casino Hotel, told Bankruptcy Judge Gloria Burns in Camden that Revel is losing $2 million a week, and has already lost $75 million this year. Burns granted temporary permission for the casino to pay employees and vendors, taxes and insurance costs and some utility bills. She also allowed Revel to temporarily use $125 million in financing to get it through bankruptcy. The casino sought bankruptcy protection Thursday, for the second time in just over a year. - AP

Elsewhere

An SEC call for transparency

The top U.S. securities regulator said that she is taking steps aimed at making trading in the bond markets more transparent for investors. Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said technology and competition have benefited and transformed the stock market, but have not had the same effect in bond markets. She said trading in the $11.3 trillion market in corporate bonds and the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market continue to be dominated by big Wall Street firms, making it hard for investors to know whether they are being charged reasonable fees. - AP

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