Economy & Business

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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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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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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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?


Chris Breakwell CEO of 31st Street Studios.

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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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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3:58 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Workers' Memorial Day Honors Those Who Died on the Job

A cross for slain jitney cab driver Monica Proviano stands before a reproduction of a mural of penitent Pittsburgh laborers by Croatian artist Maxo Vanka.
Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Local union leaders gathered in Market Square on Monday with the families of workers who have died on the job in Allegheny County, honoring them with a Workers' Memorial Day.

According to the event's organizers, 12 people died on the job in Allegheny County from May 2012 to the current month.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

The Missing Semester: Making Good Financial Decisions At An Early Age

College and High School students from across the region talk about the good and bad financial advice they've received through the years.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

  As a college student, what was your approach to financial planning? Did you even have one? High school seniors preparing to move on to college and college seniors starting careers or graduate work often find that there's something missing from their education, personal financial management. The Missing Semester is a financial planning book by Gene Natali Jr., Senior Vice President at C.S. McKee a Pittsburgh investment firm. He and Katz School of business professor Jay Sukits recently held a student roundtable on financial literacy where college and high school students from around the region shared their financial planning stories. Hear how Western PA students are making financial choices and consider your own as we discuss the challenges of money management and school.

"The choices we make every day have financial consequences--in some cases, BIG financial consequences. "

New Market Tax Credits
2:41 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Tax Credits Could Spark Economic Development in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives (PUI) has been awarded $35 million in tax credits by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help spur investments in the city’s low-income communities.

The New Markets Tax Credit Program began in 2000 and allows individual corporations and investors to receive a credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in Community Development Entities such as the PUI.

Investors can then receive 39 percent of their total investment in credits over seven years.

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Carnegie Mellon University
2:27 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

CMU Summit Hopes to Bridge Pittsburgh and China

Business CEOs and academicians from the U.S. and China will meet this weekend in Pittsburgh to discuss how to best strengthen business ties.   

Pengxuan Chen, chair of the second Carnegie Mellon University Summit on US-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said the forum is bringing in more than 40 speakers to discuss topics where both countries share interests.

She said the hope is to better promote the Pittsburgh region to Chinese investors and business people.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Exploiting Extraterrestrial Resources: Economic and Legal Issues in Outer Space

Point Park Professor Dimitris Kraniou pushes his economics students to think on the macro-level with his extraterrestrial economics course
Credit Point Park

With the steady depletion of earth’s natural resources and accelerating population growth, more and more people are giving serious thought to the idea of outer space resource exploration.

But how should the process be regulated? Professor Dimitris Kraniou, Point Park University Chair of the Department of Global Management and Organization, has been teaching this subject matter for years in his special project classes for graduate students. He turns real life global problems into outer space "what if" scenarios for students to solve.

4:45 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Quakers Bring PNC Shareholder Meeting to Early End

Because the Earth Quaker Action Team was protesting PNC's shareholder meeting, security workers escorted attendees in and out of the August Wilson Center, where the meeting was held
Credit Tom Prigg / The Allegheny Front

A protest by a group know best for its pacifist views disrupted a PNC shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh Tuesday to the point that the company’s chairman and CEO had to shut down the gathering. 

For three years the Earth Quaker Action Team has been protesting the financial institution’s involvement in the practice of collecting coal through a process known as mountaintop removal.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:20 am
Tue April 23, 2013

The Business of Security with Rebecca Harris

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

In light of everything that happened last week in Boston, our business contributor Rebecca Harris focuses on the business of physical and personal security. What do you need to consider if you are setting up your own security company? She also comments on Work Force Violence and the connection to the security industry. Read more about the growing security industry:

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Workforce Development
1:35 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Imagine! Career Week Kicks Off, Seeks to Prepare Area Youth for Jobs

The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board kicked off its eighth annual Imagine! Career Week Monday morning with 120 employers, educators and community partners seeking to prepare area youth to step into the many jobs now held by people nearing retirement.  

During the week, about 5,000 students will leave their classrooms to experience the many opportunities open to them in the financial and healthcare sectors, trades and the global economy, according to Executive Director Stefani Pashman.  

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Housing Market
3:30 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Southwestern PA Housing Market Best It’s Been in 4 Years

"For sale" signs are appearing and disappearing quickly from front lawns all over southwestern Pennsylvania.

That’s according to the March real estate report from West Penn Multi List Inc., which found it’s good to be a seller.

“It’s phenomenal,” said West Penn chief operating officer Barbara Kohl. “The situation right now is there just is not enough houses to sell. There are a tremendous amount of buyers out there, so what happened here locally is it went from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market very quickly.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:55 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Going Green by Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

  It's hard to deny that it feels good to live an eco-friendly lifestyle by shopping green. But how sustainable is sustainable consumerism when it comes to your bottom line? Can green products actually improve your economic situation and the world, or does it take action? Michael Maniates Professor of Environmental Science and Political Science at Allegheny College and advisory board member for The Story of Stuff Project, talks about how to go beyond green consumerism.

See how Maniates thinks citizens (not shoppers) hold the keys for change:

2:01 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Rivers Casino Workers File Federal Complaints, Allege Intimidation by Management

Last week, workers from Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino marched to the facility, calling on management to recognize their right to organize. They then gathered in an employee cafeteria where workers claim they  were targets of intimidation by management.

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State News
10:02 am
Wed April 17, 2013

NRA Selected to Take Harrisburg Outdoor Show to 'National Level'

The National Rifle Association will operate a major sports and outdoors show in Harrisburg next year.

The NRA was selected from among 17 applicants to take over running the event that was known as the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show and help raise its national profile.

President David Keene called the cancelation a “tragedy” which his organization plans to rectify with the new Great American Outdoor Show.

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4:55 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

State Auditor General Finds $35 Million in Unpaid Corporate Taxes

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Tuesday that he found errors on more than 1,250 corporate tax returns, totaling a net gain of $35.4 million for the state.

Some corporations overpaid by a total of $5.5 million, but many more underpaid by a total of $40.8 million.

DePasquale said the Department of Revenue must now "aggressively go after that money" to reclaim as much as possible before the state budget deadline of June 30.

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