Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, is one of a few legislators introducing bills that would give consumers more protection when dealing with payday lending companies.
HB127 would require deferred deposit lenders, also known as payday lenders, to start reporting detailed information about the loans they give out and how long it takes people to repay them. Rep. Dunnigan says this will help get to the bottom of the claim that payday lenders help create a cycle of debt for people with low income.
Utah is the top destination state in the nation for products coming from Mexico but ranks only 37th among states exporting to Mexico. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosted a free Mexico Business Symposium Monday at The Leonardo in downtown Salt Lake City in an attempt at reaching a better balance of trade. Harvey Scott is the director of International Trade and Diplomacy for the Office. He says while Utah already has strong business ties with Mexico, there is room for improvement.
Tesla Motors all-electric cars still aren’t for sale at a traditional dealer showroom in Utah but at least now you can charge one in the southeast area of the state. The Blanding Visitor Center parking lot is the place to find the first Tesla Supercharging station located in Utah.
Jeremy Redd is Blanding’s city manager. He says the supercharger station fits there and the company is thrilled.
Josh Romney has been appointed to the Board of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Romney is founder of a real estate company, serves on the board of Charity Vision International, and has done political and fundraising work for his father’s presidential campaigns. Director Spencer Eccles says Romney brings valuable experience and contacts to the group, which aims to recruit and grow companies in Utah.
The director of a group that advocates for the availability of electronic cigarettes says Bountiful City’s plan to let four e-cigarette shops stay open through 2014 without a business license, might do more harm than good.
For a fifth straight month, Utahns used the money they saved on lower gasoline prices and spent it on everything from cars to food to utility bills. The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 of a percent from October to November on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, driven by lower gas prices. Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group conducts the survey for Zions Bank. He says that drop further boosted the positive attitudes about the state’s economy.
If there is an aversion to the inversion from tourists visiting the state to ski, there are very few signs of it. This is the biggest week of the ski season with visitors paying up to $2,500 dollars a week to rent an SUV, if they can find one. Susie English is the communications director of Ski Utah, a non-profit organization that promotes the ski and snowboard industry in the state. She says the weather and snow are excellent even though some resorts still have early season conditions.
Four electronic cigarette stores in Bountiful are being forced to close down because the city has declined to renew their business licenses for the year 2014. The city attorney says it’s closing the shops at the requested of the Davis County Health Department because they’re violation of a state zoning law.
Brad Parsons, the co-owner of e-cigarette store VaporLoc received a letter from the city attorney on Thursday, informing him that he will have to close his doors by January 1st.
Many Utah residents have already wrapped up their Black Friday shopping today. But for those who are still on the hunt for holiday gifts, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is making a call to shift some of that spending to locally-owned businesses.
At The Old Flamingo, an art boutique in Millcreek, McAdams joined shop owner Shauna Barrett and Nan Seymour with the non-profit organization Local First Utah to stress the benefits of shopping at neighborhood stores like these.
Utah consumers and retailers are getting ready for the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Some stores are opening as early as tomorrow afternoon running through the night into Black Friday.
Some stores like Toys R Us open as early as 5 pm Thursday while Costco and other large retailers aren’t scheduled to open until 9 am on Friday. Niki Copeland is a Team Leader at the Downtown Target store in Salt Lake City opening at 8 pm Thursday. She says their preparation began weeks ago and focused on popular sales items.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was in Salt Lake City Friday to check in on a major foreign trade deal being negotiated here. Consumer advocates and some members of Congress have criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but Senator Hatch remains supportive.
Avenues Bistro in Salt Lake City has started a petition to get its outdoor patio back open and the owner has enlisted the help Salt Lake City Attorney Pat Shea. Back in October, the restaurant was ordered to close the space because it violated a Salt Lake City Zoning ordinance.
Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel is hosting closed-door talks on a major trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Negotiations between the US and 11 Pacific Rim countries begin Tuesday and run for five days. Trade representatives will be greeted by protestors. Labor, environmental, and consumer advocates will be rallying outside the hotel at noon Tuesday, demanding the agreement be released to the public.
Utah Governor Gary Hebert says Boeing officials spoke with him yesterday to ask if the state would be interested in assembling the new 777X airplane, a proposition that could have an economic impact for the state in the billions of dollars.
How will the Utah ski season be this year? Well, that mostly depends on the snow. But ski resorts and the state’s tourism organizations are optimistic that this could be one of Utah’s better years. Not only will it be a winter Olympic year which brings more attention to the ski industry, but this is the first year Utah will be included as part of the Epic Pass – a special pass for selected resorts around the world. The Epic Pass will likely mean more out of state visitors, and it also means better deals for locals.
The Downtown Farmers Market is moving to inside the Rio Grande Depot starting Saturday morning. With Salt Lake City’s Downtown Farmers Market ending its 21st summer season at Pioneer Park, the Downtown Alliance is leveraging its success into the new indoor venue to become The Winter Market.
Rio Tinto Kennecott has opened a major access road, restoring full access to Bingham Canyon mine. Kennecott officials say the opening comes months ahead of schedule, but they say it will still take about two years to restore the mine to normal operations.
Where once there was a massive slide, now a road cuts through. Trucks as big as houses motor along back and forth from the mine. Matt Lengerich General Manager of the Bingham Canyon Mine, says it was no small feat to build the new mine access ramp.
A state audit released this week shows that the Utah Department of Workforce Services has cut down on errors enrolling people for benefits and training, and is doing a much better job complying with federal regulations. A previous state audit of the Department showed a consistent pattern of non-compliance, resulting in millions of dollars in questioned costs.
Utah Air National Guard Serviceman Kevin Haugen of Ogden (left) surfs Hero 2 Hired website with guidance from Sergeant Major Bowser. The mobile web center travels 200 days a year to stop at events like the one in Sandy Wednesday.
About 80 Utah employers held a job fair for veterans at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy Wednesday. Along with vets, they were hoping to reach their spouses and members of the National Guard and reserves.
Sergeant Major Wayne L. Bowser represents of one of the sponsors, “Hero 2 Hired.” He says knowing where to start is key.
Pictured Left to Right: At the podium, UTA GM Mike Allegra, Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold, Mayor Ralph Becker, Co-Chair of Utahn's for Better Transportation Roger Borgenicht, Breathe Utah Executive Director Erin Mendenhall and Marty Carpenter of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce
The Utah Transit Authority has just concluded its year-long analysis of future transportation needs for Utahns. Michael Allegra, general manager of UTA, says expanding use of technology, more focus on residents’ needs and air quality are becoming focal points of the board.
“So air quality is certainly one if those agendas and our pricing and fare policies are all part of that initiative that they’ve given us discharge to go forth and try to implement,” says Allegra.
Federal workers and furloughed employees are holding a rally Thursday at the Ogden Federal Building to protest the government shutdown. Ogden-Clearfield is one of the top 10 metro areas in the country affected by the furloughs. Hill Air Force Base is Utah's largest employer with some 25,000 federal employees and contractors.
The federal government shutdown is delaying and even stopping some lenders from finalizing home loans. With the Internal Revenue Service closed for business, lenders are unable to obtain borrowers tax transcripts, which is a vital step in approving a mortgage. The US Department of Agriculture, which processes rural home loans is closed as well.
Babs De Lay is the principal broker and owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates. She says lenders, buyers and sellers are panicked.
The Consumer Attitude Index in Utah is at its highest point since Zions Bank created the tracking system three years ago. Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group says the CAI increased 4.3 points from August to September to 92.6. He says that’s a marked improvement over the decrease this month in the national Consumer Confidence Index of 2.1 points to 79.7. Shumway says the percentage of Utahns who think business conditions are normal or good jumped 5 percentage points to 91 percent on the diversity of the state’s economy.
A battle over food stamps is coming to the floor of the U.S. House this week. Republican leaders are backing a bill that would cut $40 billion from the program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, over the next 10 years. At the same time a new study released by the Food Research and Action Center, shows that in the last four years, about one in four households in Utah with children struggle to afford food for their families. Utah is just below the national average by about 1 percent.
Gina Cornia is executive director of Utahns Against Hunger.
Utah Transit Authority will begin testing the Sugar House Streetcar line early next week. In the meantime, Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and UTA officials gathered along a residential section of the streetcar corridor this morning to unveil the look and name of the streetcar. Here’s a hint: It’s a familiar design.