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Peter Fricke

Virginia Lifts Ban On Ridesharing Companies Uber And Lyft

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Posted by Peter Fricke on Friday, August 8th, 2014, 12:00 PM PERMALINK


Virginia announced Wednesday that it would grant temporary operating authority to ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, allowing them to operate legally in the commonwealth.

In response to concerns about insurance coverage and passenger safety, Virginia sent cease-and-desist letters to Uber and Lyft on June 5, which both companies initially vowed to ignore. (RELATED: Uber, Lyft Defiant in Face of Los Angeles Ban)

The cease-and-desist orders were withdrawn as part of an agreement that “will help ensure the safety of passengers, bring the companies into compliance with Virginia law, provide transparency into their operations, and promote a level playing field for transportation providers,” according to a statement on Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s website. (RELATED: After Virginia’s Uber Ousting, Is DC More Free Than the Old Dominion)

“In order for Virginia to remain economically competitive,” McAuliffe said, “it is important that we welcome innovative companies like Uber and Lyft and provide them with the resources they need to safely and effectively operate in the Commonwealth.”

Attorney General Mark Herring portrayed the agreement as an equitable compromise, saying ridesharing companies “offer services that Virginians want, but it just wasn’t acceptable for them to operate without complying with regulations or other measures to help ensure the safety of passengers and motorists.”

Spokesmen for Uber and Lyft celebrated the agreement, saying it would ensure the safety of consumers while still embracing innovation. Dave Estrada, VP of Communication for Lyft, said the agreement “maintains the highest level of public safety while expanding consumer choice.”

Representatives for the transportation industry, however, do not believe the agreement adequately addresses their concerns. (RELATED: Houston Sting Catches Uber Drivers Accepting Street Hails)

The Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association (TLPA), an industry trade group, sponsors an initiative called “Who’s Driving You”, which claims on its website that ridesharing companies fail to perform sufficiently rigorous background checks on their drivers, and that the “surge pricing” they employ is equivalent to “price gouging”.

Dave Sutton, a spokesman for Who’s Driving You, released a statement saying, “it is well known that Uber and Lyft have unsafe insurance and background checks,” adding that, “despite these glaring safety risks, Virginia is allowing these companies to provide taxicab services to citizens. Buyer beware.”

 

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Joakim Formo

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Report: US Economy Needs 5.7 Million Jobs To Reach Pre-Recession Levels

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Posted by Peter Fricke on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014, 1:34 PM PERMALINK


The U.S. economy would need to add 5.7 million jobs in order to return to pre-recession employment levels, according to the latest report from the Hamilton Project.

Nominally, as measured by the number of payroll jobs, the economy surpassed pre-recession employment in May 2014. However, the report notes, “the payroll job count deficit does not represent the total number of jobs needed to bring the economy back to pre-recession levels because the population and potential labor force have continued to grow.”

After including labor force growth, the report concludes that the current jobs gap is only about half what it was at its lowest point, in February 2010.

Because the labor force participation rate fell during the recession, the analysis uses employment-to-population ratios from 2007 as a baseline from which to determine the current potential labor force. The purpose of this baseline, the report explains, is “to account for both population growth and the aging of the population in determining the number of jobs that must be created for the labor market to be in the same position as it was before the recession began.”

The report goes on to project how long it will take the economy to reach pre-recession employment levels based on the pace of the current recovery.

At a rate of 176,000 jobs per month, the average rate of job growth since the recovery began in March 2010, the report estimates it would take until June 2018 to close the gap fully. However, over the last 12 months, the average rate of job growth has been about 214,000 per month, which would be sufficient to close the gap by August 2017. (RELATED: 5 Creative Ideas to Stimulate Job Growth)

The report acknowledges that “potential employment can change due to a variety of factors, including immigration, demographics, labor force participation by older workers, and decisions by working-age individuals about whether to participate in the labor force.”

Nonetheless, the authors maintain that their approach allows them to “account for many of the factors that could be predicted to change before the recession,” and therefore presents an accurate picture of how the recession affected employment levels.

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U.S. Tax Code Causes Businesses to Flee Overseas

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Posted by Peter Fricke on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 2:23 PM PERMALINK


Free-market advocates say Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wants to treat the symptoms rather than the cause of U.S. businesses seeking lower taxes overseas.

Lew is the latest Obama official to make the case for restricting the ability of U.S. companies to merge with foreign companies in order to relocate to lower-tax countries.

The controversial process is known as corporate inversion.

Lew acknowledged in the Washington Post Sunday that “there is nothing wrong with cross-border merger activity,” provided it be “based on economic efficiency, not tax savings.” However, he wrote the trend toward inversion has accelerated in recent months, and many of the companies that have sought tax savings through this strategy “are for all intents and purposes still based in the United States.”(RELATED: Dem Senator Says CEO Daughter’s Business Move Should be Illegal)

In the long term, Lew argued, “enacting comprehensive business tax reform is clearly the best way to address the problems in our tax code that trigger inversions.” Given the difficulty of achieving bipartisan consensus in Congress on such a politically fraught issue, though, he claims legislation restricting corporate inversion must be enacted in the meantime, “before our tax base is so eroded as to damage the prospects of comprehensive reform.” (RELATED: Union Boss Demands Companies Show Patriotism, Pay More Taxes)

While agreeing on the need for comprehensive business tax reform, many conservatives and other free-market advocates dispute Lew’s assessment that inversion is just a cynical ploy to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Curtis Dubay, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, points out in a recent column for the Daily Signal that “any business, no matter where headquartered, pays the 35 percent U.S. corporate tax rate on income earned within our borders.”

The real motivation behind inversion, he says, is the “worldwide tax system”, whereby U.S. businesses are taxed on their foreign earnings. The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world with such a system, putting domestic companies at a disadvantage relative to foreign competitors who are “free to make investments that the U.S. worldwide tax system makes unprofitable for U.S. businesses.”

Jason Fichtner of the nonpartisan Mercatus Institute, a free-market think tank, believes anti-inversion legislation serves mainly to deflect attention from the real issue of U.S. competitiveness. “Legislative proposals that attempt to treat the symptoms of the corporate tax code’s problems—rather than issues causing them—are doomed to fail,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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