Tenn. House Unanimously Approves Food Tax Reduction
The Tenn. House has unanimously approved Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to cut the state's sales tax on groceries.
If approved by the Senate, the state's tax on groceries would drop by a quarter percentage point to 5 percent. Lawmakers last year enacted a cut of the same amount.
The state's sales tax on non-food items is 7 percent.
The tax reduction is projected to cost the state about $23 million in state revenue -- or an average annual tax savings of about $3.56 for each Tennessean.
The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Finance Committee but is not expected to find much opposition.
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Last Update on February 27, 2015 08:28 GMT
THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reports on the economy, pending home sales and foreign holdings of securities are due out today. The Commerce Department releases fourth-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. The pending home sales index come out from the National Association of Realtors around 10 a.m. And the Treasury Department is to release its preliminary report on the June 2014 annual survey of foreign holdings of U.S. securities.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's core inflation rate edged lower in January as lower crude oil prices reduced energy costs, while weak retail sales and manufacturing underscored the fragility of its economic recovery.
Core inflation, excluding volatile food prices, was 2.2 percent, compared with 2.5 percent the month before and the lowest in 10 months. Excluding energy costs and food, the consumer price index was at 2.1 percent, level with the previous two months.
Unemployment rose to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent the month before.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to spur growth by vanquishing the deflation that discouraged investment and spending over the past two decades. But the economy fell back into recession after a sales tax hike on April 1, 2014. Growth recovered to 2.2 percent in the October-December quarter.
BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's Parliament is to vote today (FRIDAY) on the deal eurozone finance ministers hammered out to extend Greece's bailout for four months. The proposal should get wide, if unenthusiastic, support from lawmakers after a large majority in Chancellor Angela Merkel's (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhlz) conservative bloc signaled their backing on Thursday.
In a test vote among the 311 conservative lawmakers, 22 opposed the bailout extension and five abstained. A minority of conservative lawmakers has consistently voted against bailouts over the five years of Europe's debt crisis.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The South Korean nuclear regulator has renewed the operating license of the country's second-oldest nuclear power plant until 2022, overriding the objections of residents and anti-nuclear groups.
The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said that seven of nine commissioners voted to restart the Wolsong No. 1 reactor located 170 miles south of Seoul.
It was the first such decision in South Korea since safety concerns about nuclear energy and older plants were raised following the meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactors in 2011. South Korea's 23 nuclear power plants, mostly located in the country's southeastern coast, provide about one-third of its electricity.
The nuclear regulator said in a statement that it reviewed the plant's ability to withstand natural disasters and its compliance with other legal standards. Two commissioners who asked for more time to review the reactor's safety abstained from the vote at the end of the 14-hour meeting that began Thursday morning and ended past midnight Friday.
South Koreans were sharply divided over the fate of the Wolsong No. 1 plant that had operated for 30 years until its license expired in 2012.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The Arkansas Supreme Court says a lawsuit against tobacco giant Philip Morris USA can proceed under class-action status.
The lawsuit seeks refunds on every pack of Marlboro Lights sold in Arkansas from 1971 to 2010. The plaintiffs claim Philip Morris, which is part of the Altria Group, deceived smokers about health risks.
The justices' 6-1 decision was released Thursday.
The company wants each case considered separately, saying some smokers bought the cigarettes for their taste, packaging or brand reputation -- not for claims they had lower tar and nicotine.
Philip Morris also said courts elsewhere have rejected class-action status for similar claims.
The size of the class isn't known, but Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox warned in 2013 that it could be in the millions.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Investigators say they have recovered 32,000 emails related to a former IRS official at the heart of the agency's tea party scandal.
But they don't know if any of them are new.
The emails were to and from Lois Lerner, who used to head the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Last June, the IRS told Congress it had lost an unknown number of Lerner's emails when her computer hard drive crashed in 2011.
IRS officials said the emails could not be recovered. But at a congressional hearing Thursday, IRS Deputy Inspector General Timothy Camus said investigators recovered thousands from old computer tapes.
However, the inspector general has not determined how many of the emails might be duplicates of the 78,000 Lerner emails already produced by the IRS.
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