Gasoline tax has its positive benefits

first_imgThe writer is correct that those with lower income feel more of the pain of the gas tax. This is more an issue of income inequality to be dealt with in that context via tax rebates for lower-income drivers, for example.The writer is also correct that in the short run, drivers often can’t change their driving habits in response to the tax. In the longer run, however, drivers buy more fuel-efficient cars, live closer to work and make fewer one-store trips.In short, no one likes to pay taxes, but sometimes they are necessary. The trick isn’t to get rid of the tax, but to make it work the way it’s supposed to.Lester HadsellTroyThe writer is a professor of economics at RPI.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionGasoline tax has its positive benefitsRe May 27 Viewpoint, “Slash state gas tax,” author Steve Keller argues that the tax on gasoline should be abolished. He contends that economists view higher gas taxes negatively and instead advocates to lower them. The consensus among economists is, in fact, that higher gasoline taxes are warranted — as much as three times the current level.The economic rationale for gasoline taxes is based on the concept of negative externalities: the harm to the environment and human health done by burning gasoline. A gasoline tax discourages use of gasoline, just as intended. The result of the tax is less consumption, less pollution, better health, less congestion and fewer accidents.The tax is more effective than alternatives; one study shows that gasoline taxes are multiple times less expensive than fuel economy standards at achieving increased environmental quality.last_img read more

Tender-hearted

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Swedes to revive Zambia Railways

first_imgZAMBIA’S Ministry of Transport & Communications announced on November 22 that agreement had been reached for Swedish consultants to take over the management of Zambia Railways for two years, in order to rescue the struggling company and allow bulk freight including export copper traffic to be switched back from road to rail. The consultants are expected to help the railways overcome recent operational problems and train a new generation of Zambian management able to take control from 1999.Ministry spokesman Robert Makuma said that the technical assistance package had been agreed by the Zambian government, subject to the finance ministry allocating the local funding element. The total cost is put at 12bn kwacha, of which one-third will come as aid from the Swedish government. olast_img read more

UniCredit confirms bids received for Pioneer Investments

first_imgItalian banking group UniCredit confirmed it has received offers from other parties to acquire Pioneer Investments and that it is now in talks with potential buyers.The group put out a statement in response to “media speculations regarding asset sales”, saying offers had been received for the subsidiary.It said: “As announced on 11 July 2016, UniCredit is undertaking an in-depth group-wide strategic review, focusing on how to reinforce and optimise the group’s capital position, improve profitability and ensure continuous transformation of operations whilst maintaining flexibility to seize value-creating opportunities.”The review encompassed all major areas of the bank, it said. “The outcome of this strategic review will be unveiled at a capital markets day in London on 13 December 2016,” it said.“As regards Pioneer Investments, there can be no certainty these discussions will lead to any transaction nor any certainty as to the terms upon which any such transaction might potentially proceed.”Italy’s postal service Poste Italiane confirmed it had presented a bid for Pioneer to UniCredit, in cooperation with Italian bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and Italian independent asset manager ANIMA.Poste Italiane said the three firms had come together to acquire Pioneer jointly and create a leading asset management operator.The postal firm said the joint project was intended to create value for the three companies’ respective shareholders, and be capable of making the most of private savings in Italy.French asset manager Amundi has also said it is interested in buying Pioneer, and other parties reportedly in the bidding include Australian group Macquarie and the UK’s Aberdeen Asset Management.Offers for Pioneer, according to Italian press reports, are said to be around €3.6bn.last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan on India’s precarious financial markets

first_imgJoseph Mariathasan explores how India might get its financial house in order after a botched currency demonetisationIndia’s radical and many would say misguided move to ban “high-denomination” notes overnight on 8 November during the peak wedding season in a largely cash economy has caused chaos and will reduce GDP in the short term by significant amounts. Moreover, the notes that were banned – Rs.500 and Rs.1000 – are not that high a denomination and account for 86% of currency in circulation. It is not analogous to withdrawing $500 bills or €500 notes in Europe or the US, which are hardly used.Whether India will benefit in the long term remains to be seen. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s aims were certainly laudable – to attack corruption and the ‘black economy’ with a surprise and bold move. It is likely to also benefit the exchequer, as much of the money may never be exchanged.One real problem, though, is that it has not been just the corrupt who have suffered but the mass of the general population. Arguably, the big-time crooks would have been storing undocumented and untaxed wealth in other assets such as gold and property rather than cash. The events are happening against a backdrop of massive changes in India that still leave much to be done. China is experiencing a financial Big Bang that is transforming its economy. But in India, more people have mobile phones than bank accounts. The cost of finance is exorbitant for everyone bar the very largest companies. As economist Ajay Shah argues, in India, the financial system is simultaneously hostile to innovation and competition, and vulnerable to crises.India has seen major reforms in certain sectors after 1991, such as telecommunications. Import restrictions were loosened for manufacturing, which led to major improvements. But in finance, Shah argues the existing laws were built for a different age and need to be reorientated to the needs of the India of the next 20 years. So far, only the equity market has been “fixed”. The rest of finance is mostly unchanged – banking, for example – or has new parts that are as yet small, such as the New Pension System.Modi is halfway through his term. Shah believes there have been six wins in Indian finance that bode well for the future. The full solution for the country lies in the draft Indian Financial Code (IFC), put together between 2011 and 2015.Enacting and implementing the IFC at one shot has not happened. But a lot has, says Shah: Commodity futures have been classified as securities and are now regulated by SEBI. This should lead to convergence of financial markets and big gains to the economy.A basic concept of the rule of law is that orders of a financial agency should be subject to judicial review. After 2015, a tribunal hears orders against all financial agencies other than RBI. RBI is now the only financial agency where orders are not subject to judicial review.The Indian system of capital controls has failed. The first step towards fixing this was taken in February 2015, where the power to write regulations for non-debt capital flows (both in-bound and out-bound) shifted from RBI to the Ministry of Finance.Two new agencies envisaged in the IFC are the Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) and the Resolution Corporation (RC). The FDMC will, for the first time, make possible a full view of Indian finance and thus an assessment of systemic risk. The RC is a specialised bankruptcy code for financial firms. If high-quality laws are enacted, and the implementation plans in hand are pulled off, this will give two big steps in reform.Inflation targeting and the monetary policy committee were once heretical ideas when they were in committee reports and in the IFC. In February 2016, for the first time in its history, RBI had an objective (4% inflation) and power shifted from the governor to the MPC.At this historic moment in RBI’s history, the new governor, Urjit Patel, will now refashion RBI as an agency that will consistently deliver on its objective. This is harder than merely announcing the target. For Shah and others, there are grounds for optimism that he will be able to get this done. It may, however, be dependent on his surviving the fallout from the botched currency demonetisation.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPElast_img read more

New ‘informal’ sustainable finance group formed, comments on NFRD

first_imgThe industry groups for European asset managers and German banks, Schroders, ShareAction, AccountancyEurope, the WWF and four other entities have formed an informal group on sustainable finance, with their first output being a joint statement about the review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD).The statement is also supported by BNP Paribas Asset Management and Candriam, although they are not part of the coalition itself.Besides Efama, the Association of German Banks and other aforementioned organisations, this new group comprises: the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a professional body; the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, a reporting framework-setting consortium; Frank Bold, a “purpose-driven law firm”; and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.In a press release, the group was described as “a group of stakeholders with different backgrounds, but a common interest in sustainable finance”. “The group is used as platform for collaboration and coordination and can serve in the future as a useful forum for further interactions with the EU institutions,” it said. According to a spokesperson for the group, the coalition had its genesis in discussions between the organisations about their interests in relation to sustainable finance, and in particular the possibility of joining the European Parliament (EP) “intergroup” on ‘Sustainable, long-term investments & competitive European industry’.“As part of this, participants recognised that such a unique forum for collaboration can be very constructive and powerful,” said the spokesperson.“The number of stakeholders being interested in sustainable finance are numerous. The group as it stands brings in a number of interesting backgrounds and comprehensive feedback but there is always the opportunity to add more.”To be clear, this new informal sustainable finance group is not that EP intergroup.NFRD needs ‘leap forward’For now, the new informal sustainable finance-focussed coalition has gone public in relation to the NFRD, which the European Commission is planning to revise and on which it ran a consultation until 11 June.In its press release, the new informal group said its members believed the NFRD “should make a leap forward in improving the quality, comparability, and consistency of environmental, social and governance information”.This was against a backdrop of the EU, and the world economy, “facing one of the biggest challenges of our time in designing the means and tools to foster a green economic recovery”.“It is more important than ever for both the private and the public sector to work together on policy priorities governments should take in reaction to this crisis.”The group identified seven “matters” as being “instrumental” for the upcoming revision of the NFRD, including:Expanding the scope of NFRD reporting beyond large listed companies;Strengthening reporting on social and governance aspects;Developing minimum mandatory reporting requirements;Building on existing reporting initiatives to achieve comprehensive non-financial reporting; andEnsuring legislative consistency and avoiding duplication of reporting legislation.Hosted on AccountancyEurope’s website, the group’s full statement about the revision of the NFRD can be found here.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.last_img read more

Sanath Jayasundara Charged Under International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption Code

first_imgDubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has charged Sanath Jayasundara with two counts of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. Jayasundara, a performance analyst at Sri Lanka Cricket, has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect.The charges are as follows: Article 2.1.3 – offering a bribe or other Reward to the Sri Lankan Sports Minister to contrive in any way or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of an international match or (in the alternative) Article 2.1.1 – contriving in any way or otherwise influencing improperly the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of an international match and Article 2.4.7 – obstructing or delaying an ACU investigation into possible corrupt conduct under the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.Jayasundara has 14 days to respond to the charges. The ICC will not make any further comment in respect of these charges at this stage. IANSAlso Read: SPORTS NEWSlast_img read more

UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor announces retirement from fighting

first_imgDUBLIN: Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor said that he is retiring from fighting. In a Twitter post on Sunday, McGregor posted a photo with his mother Margaret that he said was from one of his “World title wins”.McGregor had earlier tweeted twice about retirement from fighting, both times when he was involved in arguments with the UFC. His last fight came in January against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone which he won and he has since expressed interest to face a number of opponents.He was tied this summer to face the current top lightweight contender Justin Gaethje. A trilogy fight with Nate Diaz was also something he expressed interest in repeatedly and he also tweeted on May 28 that he had accepted a proposal for a fight against MMA legend Anderson Silva.UFC President Dana White told reporters after UFC 250 on Saturday that people have been “acting strangely” lately due to the coronavirus pandemic.”Nobody is pressuring anybody to fight,” White said. “And if Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement — you should absolutely do it. And I love Conor … there’s a handful of people that have made this really fun for me. And he’s one of them.”White had earlier said that the best option for McGregor will be to wait and face the winner of Gaethje’s title challenge against Khabib Nurmagomedov.With a 22-4 record in MMA overall, McGregor has just two losses in the UFC — against Diaz, which he later avenged in the second fight between the pair, and against Nurmagomedov. In 2016, he beat Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight belt and thus became the first in the UFC to hold titles in two different weight classes. IANSAlso watch: #NewsMakers Live: Schools Post Covid in an exclusive chat with Oineetom Ojahlast_img read more

Reports say Syracuse guard Carter-Williams caught shoplifting at Destiny USA

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.edu Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams was caught shoplifting at Lord & Taylor at Destiny USA on Sunday and paid a $500 fine for the incident, The Post-Standard reported Friday.Carter-Williams went to a fitting room and put a bathrobe and gloves into his backpack, according to the article, which cited “two sources with direct knowledge of the situation.” Carter-Williams was seen by store security going to the fitting room with the items and leaving it without them visible, according to the article.The store security detained Carter-Williams when he left the store on the second level of the mall. The security officer handcuffed Carter-Williams and photos of the incident were soon published on Twitter.Carter-Williams signed a form acknowledging the theft before paying the fine with his credit card, according to the article. Carter-Williams, who was not charged, told The Post-Standard the incident was “a misunderstanding” but declined to explain it any further.Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim told The Post-Standard it was Carter-Williams’ “private business” and “unless the store comes to me, my hands are tied.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe process for handling the incident was typical for other issues at the store, according to the article.Carter-Williams took $120 worth of merchandise – an $85 bathrobe and $35 gloves, according to the article. Shoplifters cannot keep the items once the fine is paid, according to the article.He is not allowed to go to any Lord & Taylor store for two years, according to the article. Commentslast_img read more

Annenberg implements ‘BYOD’ policy for this fall

first_imgStudents in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism can look forward to a number of changes beginning in the fall 2014.In addition to the completion of the new Wallis Annenberg Hall, all students will be required to have laptop computers in the classroom. The policy is referred to as BYOD, or bring your own device.Gordon Stables, assistant dean for Student Affairs, and James Vasquez, associate dean of information technology and facilities operations at Annenberg announced the new policy requiring all Annenberg students to have a PC or Apple laptop in a memo to students on June 13.“As part of our school-wide 21st Century Literacies Initiative, we believe these developments will provide a breadth of opportunities that will be unique to you as a USC Annenberg student,” they said in the memo.The announcement on the Annenberg website said that the policy would allow the school to “focus resources on a mobile-rich and technology-intensive environment.”In addition, the memo said the school will phase out all class-specific fees and implement a school-wide Annenberg Access (Technology) fee giving students access to both new and existing technology services, software access and free printing.According to the memo, a 2014 Annenberg student survey found that 99 percent of students currently own a laptop, but to assist students in purchasing new devices, the school has partnered with KST Data and HP to provide four HP EliteBook 840 packages that meet the minimum system requirements.The packages range in price from $1,047 to $1,657. They also stipulated that current students with a new laptop do not need to purchase a new device.Minimum technical specifications for Apple or PC laptops is available online at vc.uscannenberg.org.last_img read more