Economy & Business

Essential Pittsburgh
7:51 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

The Business of Landscaping with Rebecca Harris

A recent national survey showed 81 percent of people with a yard say the upkeep is important to the look of their home. This week it’s all about the curb appeal and joining us to talk about the business of landscaping and what it can do for your home is business contributor Rebecca Harris.

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Economy
3:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Partnership Educates on Impact of Hunting on Economy

A new partnership of organizations is aiming to teach Pennsylvanians about the impact hunting has on the state’s economy.

A diverse group that ranges from chambers of commerce leaders to small business owners has formed a partnership called Hunting Works for Pennsylvania.

This partnership was created to advocate for public policy that supports jobs and economic prosperity.

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Economy
3:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Application Deadline Pushed Back

Pennsylvanians feeling the pressure to hurry up and fill out their property tax/rent rebate application by June 30 can breathe a little more easily because the deadline has been extended to December 31.

The due date was pushed back because the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has additional funds to pay the rebates.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said the deadline has been pushed back every year for the past 10 years she has worked at the department.

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Economy & Business
2:38 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

U.S. Senator Casey Urges Passage of River Act

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) speaks on the deck of a Gateway Clipper ship in Station Square.
Credit Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

Western Pennsylvania's canal system of locks and dams is an economic generator in the region and beyond, and on Friday, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) emphasized that it is a resource worth funding.

On the deck of a Gateway Clipper ship at Pittsburgh's Station Square, Casey congratulated river transportation officials for helping push for the River Act, which passed the Senate as part of the Water Resources Development Act. But he also reminded the crowd that there is still a ways to go.

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Economy & Business
4:46 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Sen. Casey Wants to Get Tough on Senior Scammers

According to the latest numbers from the Federal Trade Commission, 26 percent of all securities fraud is perpetrated against seniors, but seniors only represent 14 percent of the nation’s population.

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Employment
3:58 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Mediation Program Launched to Handle Discrimination Disputes

In the past, discrimination disputes cost thousands in lawyers’ fees and trials, not to mention the year it took to even get into court. 

Now the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) is offering a free mediation program so the dispute can be settled within 10 days without legal and court costs.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:13 am
Tue June 18, 2013

The Business of Non-Profits: Part II

Peggy Outon shares the statistics about the number of women that work in non-profits in the Pittsburgh region
Credit Marcus Charleston / Essential Pittsburgh

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris, speaks with Peggy Outon, the Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University  in part two of her series on the business of nonprofits.This week the focus is on women who comprise the majority of people working at nonprofits.

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Business
3:33 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

'Roadshow for Growth' Highlights Pittsburgh's Middle Market

The “Roadshow for Growth” bus tour came through Pittsburgh Wednesday in an effort by GE Capital and Slate Magazine to focus on the importance of middle market businesses, those with revenues between $10 million and $1 billion. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:24 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

The Business of Non-Profits

Rebecca Harris is the Executive Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Business Contributor Rebecca Harris and Peggy Outon, the Executive Director, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University discuss the business of nonprofits, and how the nonprofit sector enhances the business environment in our region.

For statistics on earnings in the non-profit industry visit the United Way of Allegheny County  and Guidestar,  a resource for statistics on all things nonprofit

Community
2:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Five Southwestern PA Communities Part of New Revitalization Partnership

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development has announced the new Strengthening Communities Partnership, an endeavor aimed at spurring private investment in five communities that are already working to revitalize.

“What it enables is for a corporation to provide a significant donation, up to $500,000 annually, and in return for a six-year commitment at that level, they can receive an 80 percent state tax credit and an additional federal benefit,” said Taris Vrcek, executive director of McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (CDC).

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Blight
2:32 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Allegheny County Seeks to Fight Blight with Recovery Program

Allegheny County is hoping to fight blight by offering as much as a $3,000 discount to anyone looking to take ownership and improve abandon properties.

The Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program usually charges individuals or entities that want to acquire the properties the assessed value of the parcel plus about $3,000 in fees. Between now and July 15 the county will waive between $1,600 and all of the fees.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:30 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

The Business of Outdoor Recreation

There are so many outdoor activities to do in Pittsburgh. Find out about the business industry that keeps it all afloat.
Credit Schultzlabs / Flickr

    

Whether it’s hiking, biking or some other activity, outdoor recreation is big business. A coalition of non-profits in the region is proclaiming this the Summer of Outdoor Recreation. for those looking to get into the business of recreation, The Progress Fund supports local entrepreneurs in the tourism industry. Trail Towns is also a resource for businesses along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Local environmental resources like Family Tyes and Friends of the Riverfront teach kids about our waterways. And the PA Environmental Council and Sustainable Pittsburgh offer a wide range of eco-friendly outdoor ideas.

And for active explorers there's the Three Rivers Rowing Association,Venture Outdoors, and Bike Pittsburgh.

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Veterans
3:30 am
Mon June 3, 2013

PA Senator Sponsoring Tax Credit for Veteran Jobs

State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) is sponsoring a bill that would provide a $4,000 tax credit to small businesses that hire veterans.

“It’s a win/win because the employer will get a great employee in a veteran and be doing the right thing to hire one of our heroes and also get a tax credit,” Stack said. “So I think it’s job creation and it’s rewarding the folks that have fought for us.”

Stack notes the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania for veterans is 9.9 percent compared to the statewide unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:03 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Taking Advantage of the Homestead Tax Exemption

Why are so many Pittsburgh homeowners not taking advantage of the Homestead tax exemption?
Credit Mark Knobil / Flickr

In Allegheny County Homestead tax exemption is a tax break that deducts $85 from every homeowner's property tax bill. It's a useful bit of financial relief for many area homeowners. But residents in Pittsburgh's poorer neighborhoods, where the deduction could be most useful, are not taking advantage of the exemption. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Andrew McGill has reviewed the situation and says, "Amid all the hubbub over re-assessments, I was surprised more people weren't aware of it, and how this lack of awareness is split along income lines."

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:09 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Exploring Pittsburgh's Innovation Trends

In places like China where people experience major respiratory problems, the Hemolung can be invaluable. But who has the rights to the technology when it's in a country with different laws?
Credit ALung

What happens when Pittsburgh's biggest innovators branch out to new territory?

ALung has been making waves with the Hemolung Respiratory Assist System. They've gathered major funding to sell in Europe and now China. But big questions must be raised about intellectual property rights. How can companies protect themselves and flourish at the same time?

And right now one of the hottest trends in the startup world is hardware. Instead of building apps and Web products, companies are building physical hardware that you can buy and use, like the folks at 4Moms.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:07 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

The Business of Interviewing with Rebecca Harris

Rebecca Harris is the Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Can you really answer the question “tell me about yourself” in an interview, while being sure to talk about  skills relevant to the job?  How about describing  a difficult work situation and making it sound like you're a great problem solver? Effective interviewing is a skill and our business contributor Rebecca Harris offers some advice to help you ace the interview.

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Community
2:10 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Community, Corporate Leaders Pledge Commitment to Racial Equity in Business Sector

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (left) and B-PEP's Tim Stevens said the corporate community needs to be more diverse, especially in management and board positions.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (left) and B-PEP's Tim Stevens said the corporate community needs to be more diverse, especially in management and board positions.

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The Pittsburgh region has been doing relatively well the last few years, with the region returning to pre-recession employment levels faster than the national average.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:07 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Building the Perfect Resume with Rebecca Harris

Rebecca Harris is the Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Graduation season is here and as a new group of college graduates enters the real world, how do you stand out in a tough job market? This week, business contributor Rebecca Harris offers suggestions for building the perfect resume. And find some surprising and not so surprising facts on new graduate employment.

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Government & Politics
2:00 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Pennsylvania Business Leaders Seek Tax Changes from Lawmakers

On the heels of news that Pennsylvania ranks 42nd in the nation for best places to do business, the CompetePA Coalition is calling on lawmakers to change the corporate tax structure. In particular, the group is asking that the $3 million cap on net operating loss (NOL) carryforwards be eliminated.

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Business
3:51 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

PA Ranks 42nd on Magazine's List of Best Places To Do Business

If 736 chief executive officers had their druthers, they’d rather operate in 41 other states before setting up shop in Pennsylvania.

Each year, Chief Executive magazine asks hundreds of CEOs to evaluate the national business climate on a state-by-state basis. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, J.P. Donlon, said that the annual ranking feature provides a holistic, qualitative view of states’ ability to attract and maintain businesses.

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Business
1:18 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Marcellus Shale Attracts Swift Worldwide Resources to Pittsburgh

The Marcellus Shale boom in western Pennsylvania has gained the attention of oil and gas companies, and they are seeing new opportunities in Pittsburgh.

One of the businesses making a move to Pittsburgh is Swift Worldwide Resources.

The outplacement company opened an office in Robinson. The new office will focus on hiring people for management and supporting roles in the oil and gas industry.

These roles include positions in technical shale drilling along with safety and environmental consulting.

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Organized Labor
5:07 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Food Workers at Rivers Casino Garner Pittsburgh Council Support for Union

The month-old unionization effort of food service employees at the Rivers Casino was boosted with a bit of political clout on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution in support of the proposed union, which could band together some 800 workers at the North Shore gambling house.

The union would include waiters, banquet servers, floor workers and others spread out across the casino's five internal restaurants. The labor group Unite Here! would administer the union. A spokesman said the group has no experience organizing casino dealers or security guards.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:31 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Business Basics 101 Part 2

Rebecca Harris is director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Many people dream of running their own business but don't know how to get started. Business contributor Rebecca Harris continues a two-part series on the basics of starting a business. She talks with business mentor and attorney Beth Slagle about choosing the best business entity, from partnerships to sole proprietorships.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:19 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Lights, Camera But Where's the Action?

31st Street Studios is said to have the biggest sound stage east of the Mississippi River
Credit 31 Street Studios / Facebook

In recent years the number of movies shot in Pittsburgh has some people calling us "Hollywood East."  However, it appears the city and state have become victims of their own success.

Filmmakers have gravitated to Pittsburgh over the years for a number of reasons, including affordability. But Pennsylvania's current tax credit allotment is capped at $60 million a year.  That money dries up quickly in the film industry. So how can Pennsylvania keep up with states like Louisiana, and Georgia, which have no tax credit limit? And what more can be done to lure film and television production to the state?

Guest

Chris Breakwell CEO of 31st Street Studios.

Hospitals
1:33 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

While Still in the Black, Hospitals Warn About Sequestration

Hospitals in western Pennsylvania are warning that their operating margins are shrinking sharply, and that’s not counting the impact of the sequester from a 2 percent reduction from Medicare.

Denis Lukes, vice president at the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania, said operating margins at the trade association's 56 member hospitals dropped by more than half from a year ago. That coupled with possible cuts to government reimbursement leads to a “perfect storm.”

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Economy & Business
3:20 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Teamsters Want To Represent US Airways Workers

US Airways mechanics could be voting soon to trade in their old union for new representation.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has fielded the needed papers with the National Mediation Board requesting an election. The union says it has collected 2,800 signatures from the 4,500 US Airways mechanics who are currently represented by the International Association of Machinists.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:48 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Business Basics 101

Rebecca Harris is Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Many people dream of having their own business but how do you get started? Business contributor Rebecca Harris begins a two-part series on the basics of starting a business. She talks with attorney Beth Slagle about what you need to know from writing a business plan to hiring employees. Also take a look at some of the State websites for proper business licensing and fees:

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Marathon
12:44 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Volunteers Needed to Put “Extra Shine” on Downtown

With as many as 30,000 visitors and runners making their way to downtown Pittsburgh Sunday for the marathon, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is hoping to put an “extra shine” on the Golden Triangle.

“This is something we do every Saturday but it is an extra special weekend,” said Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) CEO Jeremy Waldrup who is hoping to see about 50 volunteers show up at the group’s Liberty Avenue office Saturday at 10:00a.m.

The volunteers will be out spiffing up the streets and green spaces for about four hours according to Waldrup.

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Penguins Playoffs
12:25 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Penguins + Playoffs=$Millions For The City

The Penguins host the New York Islanders this evening in the second game of their best of seven first round playoff series.  That means another three-plus million dollars for Pittsburgh’s economy.

“You just knew at the start [of the lockout-shortened NHL season] the Penguins would make the playoffs,” said Craig Davis, CEO of VisitPittsburgh.  “Hopefully, they’ll go very, very far because there’s a real significant economic impact to the city when they go that far.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:48 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

The Business of Running Shoes

The world of running shoes is a fast-paced industry Rebecca Harris talks about how to stay ahead of the curve
Credit Timothy Takemoto / Flickr

Whether you’re a marathoner or recreational runner it goes without saying, the most essential piece of running equipment is a good pair of running shoes. This week, our contributor Rebecca Harris discusses the business of running shoes.

Interested in the running shoe business? Find out more about the athletic footwear industry and pick up some tips for training for a marathon:

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