The latest sales figures for median-priced single-family homes and condominiums in Salt Lake County shows a 20 percent increase compared to the same time last year. It’s a seller’s market, according to Dave Frederickson - President of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. He says the number of homes on the market is limited right now. In particular, homes in the median price range of $250,000 and below are selling quickly.
The largest health system in the state of Utah has agreed to pay the Federal government $25.5 million to settle claims that it violated laws governing physician referrals and payments. But an official with Intermountain Healthcare says they didn’t realize they were in violation of the law until after an internal review.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expanding a program into Utah that is aimed at helping rural counties escape the grasp of persistent poverty.
The new StrikeForce Initiative brings together agencies within the USDA in an attempt to better coordinate efforts to spur economic development in rural counties. Dave Conine is the Rural Development state director. He says by making knowledge and resources available through things like micro-loans that they’ll be able to make a real difference.
Utah Transit Authority fare increases took effect today; much to the chagrin of riders. It was the last in a series of increases UTA approved in 2011.
There are few certainties in life. But one thing is clear; no one likes to see prices go up. Mia Mora uses public transportation a few days a week. She says the 15 cent hike won’t price her out of a commute.
“As long as it doesn’t get any higher than that," she says. "But if they keep raising it….”
Mora says she already struggles to afford a day pass or multiple transfers.
The higher price of a gallon of gasoline was the driving force behind a marked increase in the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index or CPI last month. The Cicero Group released the latest figures for Zions Bank today Tuesday. Cicero’s CEO Randy Shumway says gas prices affect everything.
“Since the average Utahn spends about 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, says Shumway, that has a big impact on inflation in the state.”
Salt Lake County is expanding its small business loan program with some financial backing from commercial banks. The fund supplies higher interest loans to businesses that would be otherwise ineligible for traditional bank loans.
The Zion Curtain - the barrier shielding restaurant customers form the preparation of alcoholic beverages - will stand this year, despite attempts by state House members to tear it down. But some changes to alcohol laws did pass, including the ability for restaurant chains to get a single master liquor license.
A bill that would require some out of state internet retailers to collect sales tax from Utah customers narrowly passed the UTAH Senate this morning. But if SB 226 becomes law it could be challenged by the Justice Department.
Federal law prohibits Utah from collecting sales tax from online businesses unless they have an office or storefront in the state. SB 226 would expand the rule to include remote retailers who use local advertisements or forge other local agreements.
A state Senate committee voted Wednesday to push back the start date for Utah’s guest worker program by two years to give Congress a chance to work on comprehensive immigration reform.
Utah’s guest worker program was set to go into effect this July, but Republican Senator Curt Bramble of Provo introduced Senate Bill 225 to postpone the implementation until 2015. Bramble told the Senate Business and Labor committee that Utah’s guest worker law was designed to pressure the federal government into reforming immigration policy.