A call for an investigation into high gas prices, a proposed book tax on major corporations, the effect of major spending bills on inflation, a continued blockade of a nominee for a key post in the U.S. Small Business Administration, little change in jobless claims, a grant to expand registered apprenticeships in Connecticut, and the potential for expanded commercial air travel options in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.
President Joe Biden is asking the Federal Trade Commission whether anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies is contributing to higher gasoline prices. Gas prices have hit a seven-year high due to factors such as increased consumer demand and a slow pace of increased production, though the White House is questioning whether unscrupulous behavior in the oil industry is playing a role.
An analysis offered by Democratic lawmakers suggests that 70 percent of larger companies would see higher taxes under a proposal to tax the “book income” businesses report to shareholders but not the Internal Revenue Service. The proposal is part of the effort to fund a major $1.75 trillion bill on social policy and environmental initiatives without raising the corporate tax rate.
Several ratings agencies have said that the major spending bills backed by the White House will not contribute to inflationary pressures. Experts told Reuters that the recently passed infrastructure bill and the proposed social policy and environmental bill avoid passing direct costs on to most Americans since they have a lengthy timeframe and seek funding through taxes on wealthier citizens and corporations.
Democrats on the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship are expressing frustrations with their Republican colleagues, who for the fifth time have boycotted a meeting to consider the nomination of Dilawar Syed for deputy administer of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Republicans have raised certain issues with Syed and are also pushing for more information on SBA loans to Planned Parenthood affiliates, but Democrats say their actions are depriving the SBA of a qualified candidate and holding up work on other legislation.
Initial jobless claims held steady last week, reaching a new pandemic low of 268,000 but dropping only 1,000 compared to the previous week. Continuing claims fell by 129,000 to 2.08 million.
Connecticut will receive a $10 million federal grant to help expand registered apprenticeship programs in the state. The Biden administration has been advocating for the growth of these programs to support new job opportunities.
The Connecticut Airport Authority says it could increase commercial air travel options in the state if it receives a lease for the Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. The authority says there is also the potential for expanding commercial services to New Haven and resuming services at the airport in Groton.