Sandy’d

November 5, 2012

This is fast becoming

The week that was

For once,

The meteorologist

Were dead on

And

The resulting devastation

Around New Jersey

And Pennsylvania

Is almost……

Unimaginable

 

The road from Avalon

Heading toward the bridge

Into Townsend Inlet

 

Is wiped out

The eye of the hurricane

Was right in

Or

Right near Sea Isle City

This may actually have saved

 

Our little town.

The heavy winds and flooding

Hit north of us

Heavy rains hit…

South of us

Ocean City is still flooded

As I write this.

I am sure you have all seen

Pictures of

Atlantic City…..

And

Brigantine.

Damages are severe

But most can be rebuilt

Long Beach Island….

Toms River….

Seaside…

The Ocean has met the Bay

 

These towns could be lost

 

To Mother Nature

We all hope and pray

 

That is not the case

 

What I have been fascinated about…

Is the spirit of cooperation

That exists…

Everyone is….

Going out of their way

To help everyone else

The rumble of politics has ceased

Momentarily….

As we pull together

To help each other

It is in times like this

That the spirit of America

 

Shines

We are all one…

Working for the benefit

Of all

 

We are our brother’s keeper

Find us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

By Maya Rao Inquirer Staff Writer TRENTON –

 Last month, a state utilities board voted to allocate $15 million in federal stimulus money for grants to make businesses more energy efficient.

The money for the program, which seeks to lower New Jersey residents’ utility bills by reducing demand from the biggest users of the electric grid, should have come from a fee assessed on major commercial and industrial users since 2003.

 But the Retail Margin Fund, which holds that revenue, is empty – among the consequences of hundreds of millions of dollars in diversions from “dedicated” funds to help the state close a multibillion-dollar budget gap.

 Budget documents show that environmental and clean-energy programs designed to reduce New Jersey household and commercial utility bills are being hit particularly hard, with about $400 million rerouted into the state’s general fund.

The state raided $128 million from the Retail Margin Fund, which is generated by fees from commercial and industrial users, in the fiscal year that ended June 30, and will take $14 million under the $29.4 billion budget signed into law last week.

Greg Reinert, spokesman for the Board of Public Utilities, said the fund had never spent the money collected over the years.

 Today, he said, “there’s nothing left in it.” Just last year, the state enacted a law authorizing the fund to spend $60 million on combined-heat-and-power grants for businesses. The program aimed to help the state develop 1,500 megawatts of cogeneration capacity by 2020.

 Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D., Somerset), a primary sponsor of the 2009 law, criticized the shift of $15 million in stimulus money to fund the cogeneration program as a one-shot fix. The fund is paid into by business customers “who are hurting with higher energy costs.

 By taking their money away and not giving it back to them, to balance the budget, it’s totally inappropriate,” he said. Chivukula grilled the sponsor of the bill authorizing the diversions from that and other environmental funds on the Assembly floor during last Monday’s marathon legislative session. Yet Chivukula provided one of the handful of Democratic votes needed to pass the measure, citing “the spirit of bipartisanship.” “Given the dire circumstances we’re facing in New Jersey with revenue shortfalls, we have little or no choice” but to look to other areas “to make this budget balanced,” Assemblyman Joseph Malone (R., Burlington), the bill’s sponsor and a previous critic of budget raids, told Chivukula.

The moves concern lawmakers and environmental advocates alike. “One of the problems is that this isn’t taxpayer money. . . . It was ratepayer money that had been set aside and dedicated to clean energy that helps people save money and helps create jobs and helps reduce pollution, so it was a no-win situation for the environment, the economy, and the people of New Jersey,” said Matt Elliott, the global-warming and clean-energy advocate for Environment New Jersey.

 “Once they get used to robbing these funds,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, “they may continue to rob them because it becomes easy – and that is going to mean higher electric costs for consumers, fewer jobs in a time when we need to grow our economy, and more air pollution.”

The largest diversion comes from the Clean Energy Fund, which annually takes in about $250 million, an average of $20 per New Jersey household, through a charge on utility bills. The fee stems from the 1999 utility deregulation under Republican Gov. Christie Whitman.

Revelations that the administration of Gov. Jon S. Corzine rerouted $30 million from the fund in 2009 drew outrage from several South Jersey lawmakers. Assemblymen Vincent Polistina and John Amodeo, Republicans from Atlantic County, lambasted the move as “Exhibit A of budget-balancing gimmicks.” Sen. Diane Allen (R., Burlington) called for an end to the practice.

 But those same lawmakers closed out fiscal 2010 by voting to authorize a $158 million diversion from the fund, and an additional $10 million this fiscal year.

In interviews, the three legislators said they continued to oppose raiding funds, but described their votes as necessary in a difficult fiscal climate.

Polistina blamed the Democratic Corzine administration, saying it had “overestimated revenues so badly that we were left with very little options, and at this point it seemed like the best way to try to close the shortfall that was created by Corzine.”

The moves have also upset the industry: The Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association sued the Christie administration in May, saying diversions of clean-energy money were unconstitutional. Reinert said the impact of the diversions from the Clean Energy Fund had been softened by the BPU’s recapturing $61 million that had been set aside but never spent on various projects.

He said the BPU had actually increased funding for a successful home energy audit program. Taking money from dedicated funds is a longtime, if controversial, practice under administrations of both parties in Trenton.

State leaders gave approval last week to dip into funds dedicated to spinal-cord and breast-cancer research, disability payments, and economic development. They authorized diverting $10 million set aside to make state buildings more energy efficient, and tapping the recycling fund for $7 million, the same amount diverted last year. The budget also says that “all revenues from fees and fines collected by the Department of Environmental Protection . . . shall be deposited into the state general fund without regard to their specific dedication.”

States from California to Connecticut are raiding dedicated funds to offset enormous budget deficits. Rhode Island this year decided it was a violation of state law to divert cap-and-trade revenue from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is an agreement among 10 Northeast states to cut carbon emissions. New York and New Hampshire, however, took millions from their RGGI funds this year.

New Jersey is redirecting $65 million in RGGI money to its general fund. Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D., Cape May) said the moves meant a lack of investment in the future, given that New Jersey has been “on the cutting edge of clean energy.”

He withheld his support for the budget last year out of numerous concerns about raiding dedicated funds, and has sponsored a resolution to bar the practice through a state constitutional amendment. He nonetheless voted to authorize the diversions last week, explaining: “We have to move forward in New Jersey.

We have to put out a message that we can’t have a [government] shutdown.”

Our Perspective:

I find this article to be really distuurbing. It just continues to validate my view that the system is broken. We have been caught up in greed and abandoned our ideals to be self serving. We have to rethink our efforts and start thinking outside the box.

The status quo is not working. The politicians are not serving our best interest. There must be a better way and we have to start electing people who our true to our ideals and will work to make this world a better place. Stop putting bandaids on everything.

March 28 (Bloomberg) — The dollar fell against the euro, headed for its biggest weekly decline since January 2006, as traders increased bets that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again to avert a recession.

 Is this too little to late? 

Ask Gov. Corzine, he said the R word this morning on Morning Joe. He was asked by Joe Scarborough, “ Do you think we are in a recession.” His answer…”Yes.”

He went on to say that many of the things that the government is now doing is correct but they were too slow to pull the trigger. The Government should have taken these steps months ago.

Now what do we do? 

Ask John McCain, He doesn’t think the government should do anything.

Both Obama and Clinton are saying they will take steps to address these issues but that could be another year from now.

In the meantime, the economy is on a roller coaster.

The Feds keep cutting rates but the banks are not lending money. The housing market continues to suffer for people cannot get a mortgage.

Those stuck with high mortgage rates, try to take the high road and continue to pay high monthly payments with no relief in site. Some are even opting to walk away from their investment. That only will cause more problems down the road.

 What about the small business owner? 

Sales are down and costs continue to increase.

We are working with many small and medium size clients, reviewing costs, creating opportunities that will help them weather the current crisis.

Many hours have been vested to help build their American Dream.

This is not the time to be complacent!

There may not be a silver bullet cure-all but there are steps that can be taken to help reduce cost.

This is the time to be pro-active. 

Let us know your thoughts?

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 Hutchinson Business Solutions ……Your CFO on the Go. 

Creating Opportunities Today,…Defining Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company.

Spread the good news….. share this information with a friend.

Another Cut

March 18, 2008

The Fed cut its federal funds rate another ¾ of a point today  to 2.25%, 

This is an overnight bank-lending rate.  

It is the sixth cut in the past six months and comes at a time when the Fed is trying to keep the economy from slipping into recession –  

Although many think it’s already entered one. 

What’s your thoughts on this? 

The Fed also took the unprecedented step, on Sunday, allowing brokerage firms to borrow money directly from the Fed, a right previously reserved for commercial banks.

In addition, the central bank lowered its discount rate, which is what it charges banks to borrow money, by a quarter of a point. 

As a result, the dollar rose the most it has in almost four years against the yen and gained against the euro.

All this, in an effort to boost the economy and bring confidence back to the financial markets.

Is this being reactionary or is the Fed trying to be proactive?

 Is this too little too late? 

What are your friends and associates saying?

Personally we are hearing a lot of uncertainty.

Most people are hoping it is all just a dream and that it won’t affect them.

However, the signs are real and it is already affecting them.

This is an election year.

Listen to what the candidates are saying and see which one is speaking to you.

Who offers the best plan to address the issues we are dealing with?

Who will address the long-standing issues that have plagued our economy?

I must admit I feel let down.

I always thought that politicians would act in our own best interest to address these issues.

However, too many years have passes and we are still talking about the same things.

What about the hopes and dreams we look to pass onto our children?

What steps are we taking to give them the opportunities we were afforded?

We look to politics to address the global issues,

However what steps can we take to make sure we are not talking about the same issues in years to come.

If you are in business, what are you doing to make it more competitive?

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

What steps are you taking to increase the efficiencies?

What if you lost a key person?

Is there a succession plan in place?

What are your employees saying about health benefits?

Do you have a retirement program in place?

These are opportunities we handle on an everyday basis.

To learn more visit our website

www.hbsadvantage.com

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and discussing them with you.

Gold futures hit $1,000 an ounce for the first time Thursday, pushed past the benchmark by the sinking dollar and record crude oil prices.

The dollar fell below 100 yen during Asian trading Thursday, its weakest level against the Japanese currency in 12 years. The dollar also dropped to all-time lows against the euro.

Crude oil futures hit a record high above $110 a barrel Thursday, after first crossing that level Wednesday, also due to investors abandoning the weak dollar.

Oh boy, hold onto your seat!

Can anyone make sense of this?

There are so many opinions flying around, who will get hurt in the end?

Someone may be making money but it’s not Middle America.

We try to stay focused, making it thru another day with our eyes focused toward a brighter future. 

The Federal Reserve’ is meeting next week and could provide more encouragement for gold prices since the Fed is widely believed to be considering cutting interest rates again.Another rate cut could reduce the dollar’s value further, making gold an even better investment.

Is your head spinning yet?

Too much information, I am beginning to feel like a daily trader. 

Sometime you have to take a moment to step back and ask;

How is all this affecting me and what can I do to insure my business and family’s security. 

You have just taken the first big step by asking this question.

HBS has great success creating opportunities that define future savings.

Our clients are saving 15% to 40% on everyday business services.

Many clients are receiving refunds for overpayments of Payroll Taxes and Sales Tax. 

Dou you qualify?

Why not ask!

Contact us and learn what opportunities are available for your company.

george@hbsadvantage.com

To learn more visit our website

www.hbsadvantage.com

I was catching up on my weekend news blips and they said something about $4.00 gas by May.

 

Is this the next hurdle?

 

I remember riding down Haddonfield road with my son Grant last year and he said, “ Look dad, gas is only $2.62.”

 

My response was, “they got you right where they want you.”

They take the time to run the price up over $3.00 and then scale it back to just under $3.00 so you feel you are getting a break or a discount.

 Are you prepared for $4.00 gas?

Is that in your budget?

Electric

On another note; the state has just finished their annual electric auction.

Guess what is going up as of June 1, 2008?

Just in time for summer!

All indications are showing that increases will be about 10%. 

NaturalGas

Not to let gasoline or electric to share the spotlight alone, natural gas is still on the rise.

All indications are that pricing is running against the tide.

Reserves are at a 5-year high!

Has there even been a cold streak this winter?

Where’s all the snow?

Yet prices are climbing and are running from $13 to $15 a decatherm.

State of the Economy

I heard the R word this weekend. 

Warren Buffet said we are in the beginning of a recession.

Politicians are in denial until after the election!

What are your thoughts? 

Hutchinson Business Solutions

How is your business doing?

Have you been pro-active in addressing rising cost?

Our specialty:

Creating opportunities today…..Defining savings for tomorrow.

 

We are here to serve.