A flat tax advocacy organization recommends states cut taxes and discontinue retail tax holidays, saying the temporary tax break for parents shopping for school supplies does not benefit low-income individuals as previously believed. However, retailers, threatened by a possible drop in anticipated sales, point to their own evidence suggesting that both businesses and state’s benefit from tax holidays.
The Tax Foundation asserts that the retail tax holiday is "poor tax policy," that does not increase spending or help low-income families.
According to the foundation, the nine to ten day period in late July and early August when some states offer consumers the opportunity to buy office necessities, clothing, computers and even U.S. Energy Star label appliances and guns without paying state taxes, is decreasing. more >>
Mother Nature seems to be having fun with the East coast. From a severe heat wave to possibly double the number of hurricanes in a typical season – this could be a year of extreme weather for Eastern residents.
On Thursday, federal weather forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration increased their prediction for the number of storms expected to form in the Atlantic Ocean this year. At a maximum this season, the number has doubled to 14 to 19 storms, with 7 to 10 of them being hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Three to five of the hurricanes are predicted to bring 111 mph winds.
The increase in storms is thought to be caused by warmer than usual ocean waters and favorable atmospheric conditions. The possible redevelopment of La Nina, a weather pattern that reduces wind strength over the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic, is also thought to be a major contributor. During a period of La Nina, the sea surface temperature across the Pacific Ocean is lower than usual by 3 to 5 degrees. more >>
For many musicians, singing for their home churches may not seem to be a big deal, but it is when their churches house an audience of thousands. This is the norm for Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, the worship leader at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
Known as “America’s Worship Leader” by many, Ratcliff is no novice to ministry or being in front of a crowd. She began traveling and singing throughout the world as a child with her family singing group The Cruse Family. Being very accomplished from a young age, she began recording music at the age of six and by age nine she became ASCAP’s youngest licensed song writer at nine.
In 2011, Ratcliff and her husband founded their own record label, RPM Music Inc. Ratcliff is now on the verge of releasing her highly anticipated solo album Twenty Three. more >>
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, three-time Dove Award winning artist Ginny Owens began to write the lead single for her upcoming album, Get In. I’m Driving. She never imagined that it would take her five years’ worth of tragedy, both globally and personally, to complete it.
Losing her eye-sight at the age of three due to a degenerative eye condition, Owens is no stranger to suffering. As a result, many of her songs carry the theme of inspiration intertwined with faith.
Her newest single, “Before You Fly,” also fits this theme of overcoming life’s challenges, but this song did not come easily to her. more >>
The brutal heat wave sizzling most of the United States this week is heading toward the East Coast starting Wednesday, bringing with it a possible heat index of more than 100 degrees, the National Weather Service said today.
This will be the first deadly heat wave to hit the Bay State this year.
Meteorologist Bill Deger said this week's severe heat wave is set to leave its mark in the record books, with numerous high temperature records in jeopardy as the blazing heat expands east through next weekend. more >>
A severe thunderstorm with hurricane-like winds knocked out electricity to more than 860,000 homes in the Chicago area on Monday, making the blackout the largest power outage since 1998, officials with ComEd utility company said.
As of midday Tuesday, approximately 358,000 customers remained without power.
ComEd reports that power to about a half million customers has been restored. It may take several days for full restoration to take place, company officials stated on ComEd’s Facebook page. More detailed restoration information from the company will be available later. more >>