Azerbaijan funds extra money for frontal zone roads

Baku, Fineko/ Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev has ordered the additional measures to accelerate socio-economic development of Geranboy region.

Under the order, the Geranboy Executive Power was allocated AZN 4.6 million for the construction of Dalimammadli-Khamanli road connecting 15 inhabited localities with the population of 15,000 people from the State Budget 2012 capital investments designed for rural road construction and reconstruction. The Ministry of Finance will undertake financing procedure and the Cabinet Ministers to resolve issues arising from the order.

Geranboy region is situated near the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian armed forces in the zone of Nagorno Garabagh conflict.

Ask the Readers: Items Worth the Extra Money?

From time to time, I get queries from reporters asking me to comment on particular personal finance topics. I do my best to help these folks, especially when they ask something interesting.

Recently, Katie from CNBC dropped me a line with a question that actually stumped me: For which things should people be willing to spend extra money? Heres an edited version of her e-mail:

Im working on a piece for our personal finance section and was wondering if you would be available to answer a few questions. The article is about 10 items that consumers should sell out the extra money on.

For this post, Im not just focused on items that will save a few pennies. Im focused more on the items that are worth the extra bucks because the quality/use a consumer will get out of it is worth it (but items that will save big bucks would be great also!). For example, consumers will probably want to spring for a high quality suit that they can wear for a long time vs. buying a less expensive one that will unravel the next week.

I was hoping you could offer maybe four suggestions for items/experiences that are worth spending money on and explain why you think that.

It was tough for me to come up with any one-size-fits-all answers to this question. Your answer will depend on your priorities. If you like to cook, for instance, then quality cookware and cutlery are well worth the money. But if you dont ever spend time in the kitchen, these things are a waste of money. If fitness is important to you, then spending money on gear and events and trainers is an excellent investment. If you dont use the stuff, its money down the tubes.

But as for general items that anyone could feel comfortable spending money on? Well, thats a little more difficult to discuss.

I guess that I would argue food is one area where consumers shouldnt cut back. Too many people do and it takes a toll on their health. Yes, buying fresh fruits and vegetables is more expensive, but the nutrition is so much better than convenience foods found in the freezer section of the grocery store.

Actually, I dont think people should scrimp on anything related to health, whether thats food or exercise or health insurance. No, you shouldnt pay for things you wont use, but if you are going to use it, then theres nothing wrong with an expensive gym membership.

Also, I think people should be willing to spend on education. I dont just mean college — although thats definitely important (college grads get paid far more, on average, than those who dont go) — but also community ed courses and seminars and so on. Any personal development is a good investment, if you ask me. But only if you act on the things you learn. Just going to a bunch of seminars wont make you a better person. You have to put the things you learn into practice.

Note: This question reminds me of one of my favorite early posts here at Get Rich Slowly, a post that nobody else seemed to like: Choosing quality over price In that article, I list a bunch of companies that have built their businesses on providing quality products that are worth their premium prices.

Katies article was published on Wednesday and you can read it here: 10 ways to save money by spending more. Reading it, I thought about the things I choose to spend on.

What do you think? First, what are you willing to pay extra for? Second, do you think there are certain general items for which all of us should be willing to spend extra? And is it ever really fair to say that you can save money by spending more?

The original article can be found at
Ask the Readers: Items Worth the Extra Money?

College Finances: Extra Money From ACC Boosts FSU’s Revenues

Florida States financial concerns have improved dramatically thanks to additional cash distribution from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Preckwinkle Funnels Extra $120K To Youth Summer Jobs Program

CHICAGO (CBS) Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinkle said county officials have found more money to add to a summer jobs program for youths in high-crime neighborhoods.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the Preckwinkle Administration feels the need for the program is too great to ignore.

Preckwinkle said her office has come up with an additional $120,000 to provide job mentors for an additional 75 to 100 kids this summer, targeting youths in the citys highest crime areas. She said she felt the need to provide the extra money, given the spike in the citys murder rate this year.

“This has been a very troubling summer, in terms of the level of violence, particularly on the weekends,” Preckwinkle said. “I dread reading the Monday morning papers, to see how many people have been shot, and how many – particularly young people – have lost their lives.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Download: county-jobs-061812-w2.mp3

BoatUS Insurance Offers The Right Choices for Pontoon, PWC …

Its smart to look for an affordable insurance policy for your pontoon or personal watercraft, but buying on price alone could be a costly mistake. Why? Because unlike standard home or auto insurance programs, boat insurers can exclude any coverages they wish, making it harder to know if you have the right coverage. However, BoatUS competitively-priced pontoon and personal watercraft (PWC) insurance programs, which offer new lower rates, can give you just what you need with no surprises. Heres a look:

For both pontoons and PWCs, diminishing deductibles are included with all policies. For every year a boater remains claims-free, the program automatically discounts the policys hull coverage deductible 25% at renewal, until it reaches $0. Also included are uninsured boater, enhanced fuel spill coverage and an additional $25,000 in supplemental medical payment coverage for family members – which is in addition to the medical payments limit you select with your policy. And if you have a claim and need repairs, BoatUS provides a guarantee for claims-related repairs made at an approved facility for as long as you own and insure the boat through BoatUS.
While pontoons are fine for leisurely cruises around the lake, many have become platforms for fishing and watersports. BoatUS offers an Angler policy that includes $5,000 in coverage for expensive gear such as rods and reels. Adding BoatUS Watersports Package to a pontoon policy for just $30 additional gets you up to $5000 in coverage for your waterskis, inflatables, wakeboards, scuba or snorkel gear. It also includes $5000 in medical payment coverage for other guests, which compares to other policies that may offer just $1,000.
PWC owners will also appreciate BoatUS roadside assistance included with the policy, which offers 24/7 dispatch and will reimburse up to $250 for the cost to both a disabled boat trailer and tow vehicle (while towing) to a safe location, repair facility or home. BoatUS roadside assistance also provides for battery jumps, winching up slippery ramps, fuel drop-offs and key lock-out service, and using the service does not count as claim against you. Across the US, over 18,000 towing service providers are ready to respond day or night with the right equipment to handle vehicle and trailer breakdowns.
With BoatUS, youre getting a hands-on insurance company which wont leave you wondering lsquo;whats next? when a claim is made. And BoatUS is the only insurance program that gives you Seaworthy, the quarterly damage-avoidance magazine that sheds light on the claims files so we can learn from others mistakes. After all, the best insurance program may be the one that helps prevent you from ever having to file a claim in the first place.
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Published 07:20pm, Saturday, June 16, 2012

Real tax amnesty proposed

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

LEGITIMATE landowners in Baguio City burdened with delinquent real property taxes may yet heave a sigh of relief as Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas seeks to enact into law his proposed ordinance entitled “Tax Amnesty Ordinance on Delinquent Real Property Taxes in the City of Baguio.”

The proposed measure was filed by the vice mayor premised on several reasons, such as the financial difficulties being encountered by taxpayers making them unable to make timely payment of their real property taxes, thus rendering them delinquent and giving rise to the imposition of penalties and interests which ultimately result in further financial burden.

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Fariñas also mentioned in his proposed ordinance that there are many real property owners in Baguio City who are unable to pay their real property tax, thus the need by the local government to pass legislative measures to encourage taxpayers to pay their taxes due on their real properties such as the above proposed tax amnesty.

Fariñas also said the measure is more practical, appropriate, timely and responsive to ensure a more efficient and effective real property tax collections in the city.

He said in the event the measure will be approved by the City Council, its imposition will be limited to the charges, interests and other impositions due to the real property tax while the principal amount is not to be covered by the proposed law.

The procedure for the amnesty to take effect or be granted requires for the taxpayer to explain in the form of an affidavit and attaching thereto necessary documents pertaining to his inability to pay and for the document to be submitted to the City Treasurer for perusal, examination and approval.

Finally, it cannot be gainsaid that the law provides to local government units the power to create its own sources of revenue and to levy taxes, subject only to such limitations as may be provided by law.

The vice mayor said the power also includes ways and means by which efficiency in tax collection is achieved to include such removal of penalties and interests for delinquent tax payments to assure payments are realized. (Brix Domondon)

Minimum wage insufficent: survey

The survey stated that 33.7 per cent of the workers have to work extra hours to have enough money to cover their family expenses. They either work extra hours for their companies or work other part-time positions to earn extra money.

Other numbers illustrate poor living conditions for these workers: over 60 per cent of them do not have the time or money to go to movies, concerts or travel, and 17.5 per cent do not have enough money to cover medical expenses.

Dang Quang Dieu, director of the institute said that there was a huge gap between the new minimum wage and the minimum living standard. The minimum wage of VND1.05 million (US$50) only accounts for around 55-60 per cent of the minimum living standard.

Therefore, workers have to find their own ways to save time for extra working hours and save money for their expenses. A tiny room with minimal living necessities can be the home of five or six low-income workers. These places usually have poor conditions, which worsen workers health and productivity. Workers also have to consume low quality food, which further affects their health. Saving money by using wood stoves instead of gas or electric stoves is also a common thing for workers with low income.

A low income also means that workers do not have many choices for entertainment and social purposes. Only 56.6 per cent of workers surveyed said they use their free time to watch television, and 26.4 per cent read newspapers or browse the Internet in their free time.

Le Quang Nhan, a worker with two children in Thanh Xuan District, Ha Noi, said that he usually worked an extra 3-4 hours a day and only got back to his home at around 10pm after a 12-hour workday. This is the only way that he can afford to pay his childrens school tuition and his familys living expenses. He hardly can save money for any purpose other than food, bills and transportation. Since he has to work extra hours so often, he usually spends more time at his workplace than he does at home.

Dieu also stated that low wages and poor working conditions have raised continuous concerns among workers. This has resulted in worker strikes in many companies. Workers have the right to quit jobs that do not satisfy their basic needs and work for other companies that offer better wages and working conditions. Forty-four per cent of workers, when asked, were not happy with their current salary, and 13.6 per cent wanted their working conditions to be improved.

According to Dieu, in order to have a stable and experienced work force, companies should propose adequate policies for wages, working environment, and good relationships among workers and between employers and workers. We have proposed to the government that the minimum wage level should be reconstructed as soon as possible to match with the minimum living standard, he said.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Allentown man’s hit-run insurance claims were fraud, detectives say

Safe Auto Insurance Co. paid Baladis wife, Andrea, $4,139 after she filed a claim Aug. 28, 2011, for the damage to the SUV, county detectives said in the arrest affidavit.

Survey Finds Auto Insurance Rates Higher for Low-Income Drivers

Money amp; Savings

You may be a good driver but if you live in a moderate- or low-income neighborhood, youre probably paying higher auto insurance rates than people who live in upscale parts of town, as much as $1,500 just for minimal liability coverage.

Those are the disturbing findings of a new survey of four of the largest auto insurers in 15 cities. Between them, the companies hold half of all policies in the country.

The Consumer Federation of America went to the websites of Geico, State Farm, Allstate and Progressive and elicited rate quotes for men and women by plugging in the same data. Each person was single with one dependent, lived in a moderate income ZIP code and was a high school graduate with a low-income job. And each had an outstanding driving record with no accidents or moving violations.

Rates were requested for minimal liability (which usually covers bodily injury costs to some extent) with no comprehensive coverage (you would not be paid for the cars value if you totaled it).

Quotes varied wildly. For example, in one city price quotes from these companies for the woman ranged from $762 to $3,390.

J. Robert Hunter, CFAs director of insurance and a former Texas Insurance Commissioner, says a good competitive market has a premium price range of just 15 to 20 percent. This proves theres not much competition in these [low-income] areas, he says. Higher-income neighborhoods do have competition, driving down the rates.

Louisville, Ky., Boston, Mass., Baltimore, Md., and Miami, Fla., had the highest rates at more than $2,000 per policy.

Hunter called on the state insurance commissioners to investigate this disparity and examine the fairness of the ratings factors that insurers are allowed to use, such as credit score, education, ZIP code and income level.

This is a serious issue, one that tremendously disadvantages low- to moderate-income families, Hunter says.

But a spokesman for an industry group takes issue with the survey, saying it doesnt draw any conclusions.

It may be that certain companies are less interested in writing business in certain ZIP codes in certain cities than other insurers,  says Robert Detlefsen, vice president for public policy at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, which represents 1,400 insurers. But the real question for consumers is how much does it cost to buy a minimum liability insurance policy if my objective is to find the cheapest coverage available in the market?

Marty Schwartz, president of the non-profit Vehicles for Change, which makes inexpensive cars available to lower-income families, says automobiles are the number one poverty-fighting tool for such households. He says average annual wages go up by about $7,000 a year when a family owns a car and can use it to get to work.

The biggest barrier to car ownership for many lower-income drivers is not the price of the car but the price of car insurance, Schwartz says. Insurance charges often exceed the cost of car payments.  This is an important reason that some drive without insurance.

Some 14 percent of drivers nationwide do not carry insurance coverage, according to the latest estimates by the Insurance Research Council.

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