Monthly Archives: July 2011

Wednesday stocks rise as Bernanke details possible stimulus

Dow now at 12,810, up 47 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are jumping as the Federal Reserve chairman spells out ways that the central bank might act to stimulate the economy if the threat of deflation, or falling prices, comes back.
Bernanke’s remarks were far from an actual promise for more economic stimulus, but markets reacted immediately nonetheless. The Dow Jones industrial average nearly doubled its morning gains in ten minutes, and the dollar and U.S. government bond prices fell as investors shed lower-risk assets.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 15 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,329 in midday trading Wednesday. The Dow rose 133 points, or 1.1 percent, to 12,580. The Nasdaq composite rose 39, or 1.4 percent, to 2,821.
In testimony before congress, Bernanke outlined options the Fed would consider if the economy does not improve.

Whatever became of the planned Walmart expansion?

A reader asked why the Wal-Mart in East Bremerton never was expanded after the chain announced in late 2008 it would build a 40,000-square-foot addition devoted mostly to groceries.

Soon after that initial story, I didn’t see any expansion being built. I called company representatives, who said there’d been a change of course in planning, and the addition no longer was planned.

Since then, I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.

Rachel Pritchett

How did that Coca-Cola strike ever turn out?


Remember late last summer when 34 workers at the Coca-Cola distribution center on Auto Center Way went on strike? They had joined 500 other Coca-Cola workers in Western Washington, angry, in part, because they said that the company was asking them to contribute more for their health-care plans.

It turns out that the workers did get a new five-year contract last May, one that was “not good,” but “not horrible,” according to Mike Rodenbucher of Teamsters Local 589.

Here’s the link to one of the stories:

Kitsap gas down almost a dime in a month

Today at $3.80 per gallon of unleaded. Here’s some from a wire story about oil prices.

NEW YORK (AP) — The latest readings on Chinese inflation and renewed worries about European debt are pushing oil lower.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.44 to $94.75 per barrel Monday morning on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price many international oil varieties, dropped $2.41 to $115.92 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Oil started falling early in electronic trading after a weekend announcement that inflation in China hit a three-year high in June. China has been raising interest rates in an attempt to control inflation and cool off its economy, but on Saturday the government said consumer prices continued to rise, jumping 6.4 percent last month.
Rising consumer prices will heap even more pressure on the country’s burgeoning economy, and that could affect energy demand. Oil has been rising all year on the expectation that China would drive world oil demand.
Meanwhile, European officials disagreed over a second bailout package for Greece. Uncertainty about the country’s debt problems raised concerns that the economic crisis could spread to Italy and Spain.
“You combine the debt crisis in Europe with those (Greece) austerity measures, and you get less spending and therefore less demand” for oil, analyst Andrew Lipow said.
The dollar shot up against other currencies in morning trading, and that also weighed on oil futures. Oil is traded in dollars and tends to fall as the dollar strengthens and makes crude barrels more expensive for investors holding foreign money.

State revenue department report suggests centralizing administration of state and local B&O taxes


This report makes for interesting reading. As you know, Bremerton and Bainbridge Island have local B&O taxes. The upcoming Legislature will consider the recommendation in this new report from the Department of Revenue, and a revamp of the way the B&O is collected could be in effect as soon as 2012, says a spokesman from the Department of Revenue. The following is a recent news release from Revenue.

Rachel Pritchett

OLYMPIA – June 29, 2011 – Centralizing the collection of state and local business and occupation taxes is a key recommendation of a Tax Simplification Report sent to Governor Chris Gregoire recently.

The report stems from the Governor’s October 2010 executive order directing the Department of Revenue to examine ways to reduce the complexity of state and local tax systems.

The Department based the report on a series of meetings with small businesses, local governments, tax experts, and other stakeholders.

Currently, the Department administers the state business and occupation (B&O) tax and at least 39 cities administer their own local B&O taxes.

Businesses expressed strong interest in consolidating the administration of state and local business taxes so they only have to file one return instead of dozens, often with differing definitions and requirements.

Revenue Director Suzan DelBene said small businesses struggle to understand which state and local agencies they must deal with as they navigate a complex maze of tax reporting requirements.

“By centralizing administration of tax reporting, Washington can relieve a significant burden for small business owners, freeing them to get back to the work of running their businesses,” DelBene said.

The full report is available at

Taxable retail sales increase 1.5 percent in first quarter

OLYMPIA — Taxable retail sales increased 1.5 percent to $23 billion during the first quarter of 2011 over year-earlier results, the Department of Revenue has reported.
Retail trade increased 4.2 percent to $10.7 billion compared to the first quarter of 2010. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales that includes retailers but excludes other industries such as services and construction.
Among major industries, the construction sector was down 9.8 percent to $3.2 billion, but sales by new and used car dealers jumped 11.9 percent to $1.9 billion. Accommodations and food services rose 4.6 percent to $2.6 billion, while building materials, garden equipment and supplies sales dropped 8.6 percent to $842 million. Despite positive numbers in most retail sectors, sales by general merchandise stores dropped 0.3 percent to $2.2 billion.