Monthly Archives: January 2012

Americans drink to an improving economy

Americans feel better about the economy and they’re buying more premium-priced spirits to celebrate.051911jack_atb_01.JPG

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States on Monday reported increased revenue, volume and record exports in 2011.

Revenue and volume have returned to pre-recession levels, driven by an improving economy, consumer confidence and product innovation, the council said in its annual industry review for Wall Street analysts.

“These results show that the hospitality industry is helping drive the national recovery and job creation, but it remains critical that legislators don’t derail future economic growth through higher taxes,” said Cressy.

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Ben Stein backs president on taxing millionaires

In case you missed it, President Obama’s campaign to raise tax rates on the rich gained an interesting ally a few days ago – Ben Stein.

In an interview on CNN, the economist/ actor said he rarely agrees with the president’s policies, but raising taxes on millionaires is “totally fair and abosolutely necessary” to save the economy. In his State of the Union speech last week, Obama said millionaires should pay at least a 30 percent rate.

It’s fantasy to believe that the economy will fully recover without raising takes on the uber rich, Stein said.

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Merchants push hard to close online sales tax loophole

The Tennessee campaign to end the unfair tax advantage online only retailers have over bricks and mortar stores is flexing its muscle.

On Thursday, the merchants group Alliance for Main Street Fairness held a coordinated media event in six cities – Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Oak Ridge and Johnson City – to discuss strategy and show off its political support.

The event featured telephone calls from Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Lamar Alexander. Haslam supports a national solution to the sales tax question and Alexander is co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would end online retailers unfair advantage.

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Tennessee taxes among most business-friendly

Tennessee is the 14th best state for taxes on business, according to the Tax Foundation’s look at state tax policies.

The 2012 State Business Tax Climate Index released Wednesday compares states on five different categories – major business taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes and property taxes.

Not surprisingly, Tennessee’s ranks highest – 8th – in the income tax category and worst – 43rd – in the sales tax category. Tennessee does not tax individual wages or salaries. However, Tennessee’s combined state and local sales tax is the nation’s highest at 9.4 percent, the report says.

Comparing state business tax policy is important because a state’s biggest competition for new businesses comes from other states and not the threat of losing jobs to other countries, the report says.

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Banks are lending again — finally

After keeping the vault door closed tight for the last several years, banks are finally loaning money again.

PAULSON+MONEY.jpg“With most major banks done reporting fourth-quarter earnings, one trend is clear: For the first time in a while, loan growth is back,” according to a Motley Fool report.

JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, SunTrust and other banks all report an increase in loan totals.

“A lot of these banks had been paring back on loans for the better part of three years. Not only has that trend turned around, but it’s happened quickly,” Motley Fool says.

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UT sports top SEC in recruitment spending

The University of Tennessee men’s sports teams aren’t churning out national champions like TENNESSEE+HOME+FIELD.jpgother SEC schools, but the Vols are clear champs when it comes to its recruiting budget.

According to the website BusinessofCollegeSports.com, Tennessee’s men’s teams spent more than $1.8 million on recruiting in the 2010-11 year. That’s tops in the SEC by a substantial margin.

Auburn was No. 2 in the 2010-11 budget battle, spending a little more than $1.5 million, according to the website.

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Why people get ticked at the phone company

If you’ve gone round and round with any service provider trying to get a problem solved, you will appreciate this video by Knoxville writer and speaker Kevin Slimp.Kevin_Slimp.JPG

It seems Kevin, a nationally known speaker on publishing technology, can’t get the folks at AT&T to come next door to fix a phone problem.

The video has gone viral. And just to make sure AT&T is getting the message Slimp has vented on his Facebook page.

But the worst for AT&T is yet to come — Slimp will be on George Korda’s radio show on Sunday.

Being the subject of a video is bad enough. Being talked about on Facebook is worse. But being attacked on the Korda show — that’s painful.

Slimp’s website.

Photo: Kevin Slimp (Knoxville News Sentinel archives)

Knoxville No. 26 on ‘unhappiest’ city list

Knoxville has made another list, but you won’t find this one promoted on the Chamber web site. According to the website CareerBliss, Knoxville is one of the unhappiest cities for work in the country.

The 26th unhappiest city, to be exact.

Knoxville is sandwiched between No. 25, Harrisburg, Pa., and No. 27, Bakersfield, Calif., on CareerBliss’ list of the 30 unhappiest cities.

Wow. I’m calling BS on CareerBliss.

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New stations, political ads boost Scripps’ TV revenue

Media company E.W. Scripps, parent of the News Sentinel, said it expects to see a sharp increase in TV revenue this year, while newspaper revenue should fall slightly.

Television revenue should jump 50 percent in 2012, due in part to increased political advertising and the recent acquisition of nine TV stations from McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Co., Cincinnati-based Scripps said in prepared remarks at the Noble Financial Equity Conference.

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See below for this year’s Super Bowl winner


The Super Bowl is two and a half weeks away, but we already know who big winner will be –
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broadcaster NBC Universal.



Last year’s Super Bowl had record viewership and brought in $228 million in advertising for Fox.

“It’s likely this year’s audience will be of a comparable size, adding to the cumulative $1.72 billion that advertisers have spent on Super Bowls over the past 10 years,” according to report on MarketWatch.

Many advertisers are being tight with their money these days, but the Super Bowl continues to attract big money.

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