The Libor Scandal is no laughing matter. London bankers' practice of reporting false interest rates misrepresented the health of the British banking industry and has caused ripple effects in everything from mortgages and student loans to derivatives and a myriad of financial products.
But if it bums you out to know how casually this sort of thing goes on, take a look at it from the lighter side.
Avanti Advanced Manufacturing, a plastic injection molding company and Blockbuster Costumes, which distributes costumes and party supplies, will relocate to Buffalo and Sloan, respectively. The BNE helped bring a third Canadian company, Nutrablend Foods, in 2009 and helped it commit to expanding here in November. All three are expected to invest more than $1 million and create 35 jobs.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, a Syracuse biker hangout turned food pilgrimage destination, may soon open its doors in Buffalo. The restaurant's CEO said Wednesday that he is looking for a spot within the city of Buffalo for his next location. Deals haven't been finalized, so CEO John Stage was mum on details, but he did say he has been trying to make a Buffalo location happen for the past two years.
-'A runaway train' of soaring costs - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News If you felt sticker shock when you opened up your health insurance packet from your employer, you were not alone. Western New York workers will see their insurance premiums rise by as much as 20 percent next year. And there's no sign of it getting better soon. "It's getting worse," said Gregory D. Leifer, director of life insurance and employee benefits at Scott Danahy Naylon Insurance Brokers. "It's a runaway train, and people don't see it ending." ... Nationwide, employers expected their health insurance costs to rise by 10.1 percent in 2011, if they made no changes to their plans, but by just 5.9 percent after adjustments, according to a survey by Mercer Health & Benefits. A similar survey by Towers Watson said plan changes would lower the expected increase to 8.2 percent. Locally, rates will rise by up to 20 percent for Independent Health and HealthNow and by up to 12.5 percent for Univera. Employers are growing less willing to absorb those increases, as the cost of benefits comprises more than 10 percent of payroll, according to Compdata Surveys. ...
-Battle for shoppers' dollars pushes convenience, discounts - AP/Buffalo News From Sears stores open on Thanksgiving for the first time to free shipping from Wal-Mart, the battle for holiday shoppers' dollars has begun in earnest. ... Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that typically kicks off holiday shopping, is not only being marketed as "Black Friday week," but for a growing number of stores, "Black Friday month."
In Business Today, Verizon gets its tax breaks, and is still hungry. While a company that makes cardboard wants its cut.
- Verizon granted tax break for center - Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News Verizon Communications was granted a 20-year tax break for its $4.5 billion data center in Somerset on Wednesday, but the company is trying to use the project as leverage to obtain changes in state regulations and defeat of a piece of state legislation it opposes. “We still have what we consider some unfinished business,” Verizon spokeswoman Maureen Rasp-Glose said after the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency unanimously approved the tax package. The deal involves sales and property tax abatements totaling $518 million over 20 years and would result in the company paying about 15 percent of its tax liability. Verizon also has secured a commitment from the New York Power Authority for 25 megawatts of discounted hydropower that would save the company an estimated $96 million over 15 years. The company’s plan is to create 200 jobs, paying an average of $85,000 a year, on 158 acres of land on Lake Road next to the AES Corp. power plant. AES would sell the land to Verizon. The total value of the package — $614 million — is the largest subsidy deal offered a company in Western New York and works out to nearly $3.1 million per job. ... State and local officials have lobbied hard for the project, but the company also has some concerns about putting a project in New York. Rasp-Glose said Verizon wants the State Legislature to defeat a bill that would require the company to rebate 40 percent of the proceeds from any sale or merger of its New York operations, either in cash to ratepayers or by means of infrastructure investments in New York. Rasp-Glose said the Legislature also needs to loosen Public Service Commission regulations on its business, which she said the company considers “antiquated.” ... The rebate bill Verizon opposes was passed by the Assembly on July 1 under the sponsorship of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Westchester County Democrat. Assembly cosponsors included Erie County Democrats Sam Hoyt, Dennis H. Gabryszak and Mark J. F. Schroeder, while Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes signed on later. However, the bill is stalled in the Senate, where lame-duck Sen. William T. Stachowski, D-Lake View, was among the cosponsors. Brodsky told The Buffalo News on Wednesday that the bill involves property Verizon owned before the deregulation of the telephone industry. He called the company’s attempt to tie it to the data center project “an elegant form of blackmail.”
- Cardboard plant seeks tax break - Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News A Canadian company that operates a Niagara Falls cardboard plant applied Wednesday for a 20-year tax break on a new paper mill in the Falls. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency expects to vote Dec. 15 on the deal with Norampac’s [in English] newly formed subsidiary, Greenpac Mill. The company plans to invest $407.5 million to demolish an abandoned mill next to its active plant on Packard Road and erect a new one on the same site, creating 110 new jobs in the process. The 120 jobs in the existing Norampac plant will stay put, and its operations will continue, General Manager Luc Nadeau said. A public hearing on the payment- in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement is to be held at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 in Niagara Falls City Hall. ...
This Verizon deal may be getting more complicated: