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BUSINESS
May 14, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Small-business owners were more optimistic about the economy in April, but "pessimism abounds" in a sector that is barely growing, the National Federation for Independent Business said Tuesday. The trade group's Index of Small Business Optimism increased 2.6 points to 92.1 last month after dropping in March. The change was driven by higher expectations that the economy will improve, projections of improved sales and more plans to hire new employees. Still, the April figure was barely above the 90.7 monthly average since the end of the Great Recession, and below the 94.5 reading a year earlier.
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BUSINESS
April 17, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
A bill that would deter small-business shakedowns for Proposition 65 signage violations has been approved by a state Assembly committee. AB 227 would give business owners who violate the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act 14 days to comply without facing steep fines. Prop. 65, passed in 1986, requires establishments to warn customers that they could be exposed to certain chemicals such as alcohol. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced the bill after he was told by small-business owners that the law is easily abused by lawyers who file claims in the hopes of extracting settlements.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2013 | By Shan Li
As procrastinators scramble Monday to file their federal income taxes, some who reside in the well-off enclaves of Los Angeles or San Francisco may be bracing for an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. That's according to a new study from the National Taxpayer Advocate, which scoured IRS data to pinpoint five metropolitan areas where small business owners are more prone to dodging taxes. Other top tax-cheating hubs are the District of Columbia, Houston and Atlanta. Communities near the five cities were called out as well.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO --  Brett Schoenhals thought he was following the law by putting one of California's all-too-familiar warnings in the bar of his Coffee Table restaurant in Eagle Rock. Soon after he posted the sign, “This facility contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm,” Schoenhals got a letter from a lawyer saying he was representing an irate patron who wanted to see more warnings. Invoking the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, or Proposition 65, the lawyer threatened a lawsuit.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Let the political games begin. A battle between professional athletes and owners of football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer teams starts Monday. Dozens of retired athletes plan a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol to denounce a bill that would make it harder for them to file workers' compensation claims in California. The measure, AB 1309 by Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno), seeks to close what he sees as a legal loophole that allows out-of-state players to file claims for compensation for sports injuries developed from years of pounding in the arena.
BUSINESS
April 9, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Small-business owners were less optimistic about the economy last month amid signs of another slowdown in the recovery. The Small Business Owner Optimism Index from the National Federal of Independent Business dropped to 89.5 in March, down 1.3 points from the previous month, the group said Tuesday. The measure, based on a random survey of 759 business owners, had risen for three straight months. The average monthly reading has been 90.7 since the end of the Great Recession in mid-2009.
BUSINESS
April 9, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
Last summer's punishing drought in the Midwest caused Cargill's third-quarter earnings to sink 42% compared to the same period a year earlier, the Minneapolis-based company said Tuesday. Cargill Inc., the largest closely held company in the U.S., reported that net earnings in the fiscal 2013 third quarter were $445 million -- down $321 million from the same period a year earlier. Third-quarter sales were $32.2 billion -- up 1%. "In North America, our meat-processing businesses were pressured by the drought-related high cost of feed ingredients," said chief executive Greg Page.
BUSINESS
April 2, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
Business owners often have a tricky relationship with the idea of giving immigrant workers a path to citizenship. On the one hand, employers (usually) want to keep their workers happy and working hard, which often means seeing their families more than once a year. On the other hand, workers who have citizenship have less incentive to stay with one employer, and may leave tough, low-paying jobs for other work, leaving employers in the lurch. “If the guest workers did become citizens, some of them would probably stay, they enjoy the farm work, and like working outside,” said Rusty Barr, a farmer featured in a Sunday story about immigration reform.
BUSINESS
March 27, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores, Los Angeles Times
Proposed legislation to raise the state minimum wage could eliminate tens of thousands of jobs and harm the California economy, a small-business advocacy group said. The measure, AB 10, could wipe out more than 68,000 jobs over 10 years and cost $5.7 billion in lost production of goods and services, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business. More than 63% of the lost jobs would be in the small-business sector, NFIB researchers said.
BUSINESS
March 12, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Small business owners were more optimistic about their prospects in February, but their overall confidence in the economy remained low, according to a leading private barometer. The Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business rose to 90.8 in February, up 1.9 points from the previous month. Although the increase was positive, the group noted that reading was similar to the average from 2008, as the Great Recession was taking hold.
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