Business & Economy
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights Blueprint for Iowa Revitalization and Job Creation Following President Obama's State of the Union Address PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 10 February 2012 15:06

ANKENY, IA, Feb. 10, 2012 – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack held a roundtable meeting today with local business and agricultural leaders at the Des Moines Area Community College to discuss the vision laid out in President Obama's State of the Union address that will help grow the Iowa economy. The meeting provided Secretary Vilsack with an opportunity to hear directly from Iowans on how to make sure our students and workers get the education and training they need so that we have a workforce ready to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow.

"President Obama believes this is a make or break moment for the middle class and has laid out a blueprint for an economy that is built to last—an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values," said Vilsack. "Today I had the opportunity to hear directly from Iowans on how we work together to build a nation where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. Together we will keep our nation moving forward and rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded."

Last Friday's employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 257,000 in January and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. After losing more than 8 million jobs in the recession, the economy has added private sector jobs for 23 straight months, for a total of 3.7 million jobs over that period. Manufacturing jobs are coming back and the auto industry has rebounded. In the last 12 months, 2.2 million private sector jobs were added on net. To ensure we build an economy to last over the long term, we must continue this progress. In his State of the Union Address, the President announced proposals and outlined his vision for:

  • How we will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, with more good jobs and more products stamped Made in the USA;
  • A new era for American energy—an economy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that will be designed and produced by American workers;
  • How we will make sure our students and workers get the education and training they need so that we have a workforce ready to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow; and
  • Return to American Values - of fairness for all, and responsibility from all.

USDA is working to support the President's efforts to promote a new era of American manufacturing by supporting rural businesses, farmers and ranchers to export products made or grown in America. USDA is also supporting the President's vision for a new era for American made renewable energy by working with scientists, farmers and entrepreneurs to help develop a nationwide biofuels economy that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the countryside.

In Iowa, USDA has provided 62 grants and loans to assist rural small and mid-sized businesses create or save 5,300 jobs over the past three years. USDA has also improved and modernized rural electric infrastructure for over 91,000 rural residents and businesses in Iowa with more than 2,636 miles of new and upgraded electric lines. Across the country, USDA has helped more than 7,435 rural families in all 99 counties buy or refinance a home. The department has provided grants and loans for water and waste water community infrastructure projects to help safeguard the health of 257,000 rural residents and create or save 1,900 jobs.

Learn more about President Obama's Blueprint for an America Built to Last here.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


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Midland Communications Helps Small to Mid-Sized Businesses with 2012 Expansion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jason Smith   
Friday, 10 February 2012 09:03
DAVENPORT, IA - February 9, 2012 - Midland Communications, the region's leading technology provider, is helping small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) reposition their communications infrastructure to increase their profitably during an office expansion or relocation. In 2012 many companies have paused to reflect and reevaluate their business from all angles. Convergence has led many business owners to rely heavily on highly qualified technology providers to ensure a smooth transition of phone systems, data networks and other technologies during a strategic relocation. Midland Communications is well positioned to actively support the complex needs of its customers during this type of transition.
With an abundance of technology providers in the marketplace, a business owner's first challenge is to select the right technology provider. There are companies that are strong in either voice or data, but most lack both skill sets. However, Midland Communications is unique in that it has expertise in both voice and data communications which enables them to provide benefits that far exceed those of their competition. Midland Communications is a true Managed Service Providers (MSPs), with certified voice and data experts who have years of experience in the industry.
Midland Communications differentiates itself by providing high-level consultation to ensure that pre-installation, installation, and post-installation all runs smoothly. "As a company, we take a global approach to understand our customers' business communications and IT needs and we utilize sophisticated tools to ensure proper implementation," commented Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications. "Attention to detail and clear communication is the only way to ensure that the technology investment provides you with a competitive advantage and increases overall profitability."
Midland Communications deploys Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and leverages an innovative Current Technology Assurance Plan (C-TAP) which continually equips the customer with new technology while simultaneously protecting them from obsolescence and unforeseen cost. When a business moves into a new location the need for additional hardware and software oftentimes becomes glaringly apparent, and C-TAP customers are able to add new technology without incurring any additional cost. Keeping the customer at the latest state of technology is at the forefront of Midland Communications' mission, so long as the technology enhances productivity and increases bottom-line profitability.

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS

Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.


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In Case You Missed It: Schock and Schilling Introduced Small Business Tax Relief Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Friday, 10 February 2012 08:41

Companion Legislation Introduced Today in the Senate

Washington, DC – Congressmen Aaron Schock (IL-18) and Bobby Schilling (IL-17) last week introduced the 1099K Overreach Prevention Act, which will prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing a new tax reporting requirement that would have far reaching implications for small business owners nationwide.  Companion legislation was introduced today in the Senate by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

“This is an unnecessary IRS requirement that will only lead to more accounting headaches for businesses. My concern is that the IRS is asking for flawed information from small businesses by requiring them to reconcile their internal numbers with that of third party entities,” said Congressman Schock. “When you take into consideration all of the types of merchant transactions that occur between a customer and a small business all this adds up to unnecessary administrative costs, a new accounting burden, and more time away from growing their business. At a time when there is still record unemployment, adding another job killing regulation on small businesses is not the right solution.”

“As a small businessperson, I’ve seen the impact of government red-tape and paperwork firsthand.  When I speak to fellow small business owners, I frequently hear that they are burdened with a lot of complicated paperwork that is difficult and time-consuming to navigate,” said Congressman Schilling. “For small companies, the cost of tax compliance is already $1,584 a year.  It is wrong to weigh down the very folks we are asking to put Americans back to work and lead us into economic recovery.”

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 requires the IRS to collect a new document known as a 1099K from third party payment entities, such as credit card companies. The 1099K will show all credit transactions within a merchants business for a given year. Unfortunately, the IRS is using the 1099K to add additional burdens on small business tax forms by requiring them to reconcile this report with the merchants own internal numbers, which was NOT the original intent of the law.

Customers asking for cash back, returning merchandise bought on credit for cash, or collecting the deposits for rentals can all lead to discrepancies when reconciliation occurs.  As many small businesses don't have the specialized accounting software, bookkeeping technology, time, or personnel to cross reference and reconcile their own internal numbers with third party generated numbers, this reconciliation requirement increases the accounting workload and costs for small businesses.

The 1099K Overreach Prevention Act prevents the IRS from using the 1099K data to require new reconciliatory calculations on the part of the small business, returning this provision to the intent of the law when it was enacted.

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Discuss President Obama’s Blueprint for Economic Revitalization and Job Creation in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by USDA Communications   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:00

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2012- TOMORROW,  will host a roundtable with Iowa agriculture and business leaders as well as Des Moines Area Community College faculty and students to discuss President Obama’s efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy. He will also discuss USDA’s efforts to support Iowa’s rural communities and agriculture sector. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

 

In Iowa, USDA has provided 62 grants and loans to assist rural small and mid-sized businesses create or save 5,300 jobs over the past three years. USDA has also improved and modernized rural electric infrastructure for over 91,000 rural residents and businesses in Iowa with more than 2,636 miles of new and upgraded electric lines. Across the country, USDA has helped more than 7,435 rural families in all 99 counties buy or refinance a home.  The department has provided grants and loans for water and waste water community infrastructure projects to help safeguard the health of 257,000 rural residents and create or save 1,900 jobs.

 

Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

9:45 a.m. CST

 

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a roundtable with Iowa agriculture

and business leaders as well as Des Moines Area Community College faculty and students to discuss President Obama’s efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy.

 

WHERE: Des Moines Area Community College– Room 101

Building 3E

2006 South Ankeny Blvd.

Ankeny, Iowa 50023

 
Illinois Joins Multi-State Settlement with Five National Banks PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andrew Mason   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:51

More than $1 Billion in Mortgage Relief for Illinois Families

CHICAGO – February 9, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois mortgage regulators have joined with their counterparts across the country to accept the terms of a national settlement with five of the nation’s largest banks. Under the settlement, more than $1 billion will go to help struggling Illinois homeowners and those affected by improper foreclosures.

The settlement will provide direct assistance to distressed homeowners, including helping them to change the terms or payments of their mortgages so they can stay in their homes. The settlement will also provide monetary awards to families who lost their homes due to faulty foreclosure proceedings, and will reform the mortgage servicing practices that led to the problems faced by tens of thousands of Illinois families.

“Over the past years, we’ve seen how the flawed mortgage financial system has hurt Illinois families, and I want to thank Attorney General Lisa Madigan for her advocacy on this issue,” Governor Quinn said. “This settlement will help those most affected by the housing crisis, and will establish new rules for mortgage lending that will be easier to understand and enforce.”

The settlement significantly eases the way for families to modify the terms of their mortgages. For families that are at risk of default, money has been set aside to help reduce the principal balance on the loan and reduce monthly mortgage payments.

The settlement also provides direct help to homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than the current value of their homes. The banks will also allocate funds to reduce the principal balance, approve short-sales (where the property is sold for less than the balance on the mortgage, with the bank’s approval) and allow for unemployed payment forbearance, which defers payments for homeowners who are between jobs. Under the terms of the settlement, the five lenders are barred from starting foreclosure proceedings on mortgage loans while the homeowner is in negotiations on loan a modification.

The State’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is responsible for overseeing the activities of mortgage lenders and servicing companies. It has aggressively targeted mortgage fraud and sloppy or illegal loan processing and servicing. The settlement also includes $1 million for the state agency that will be used by IDFPR to continue its ongoing investigative and enforcement work.

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