Casino Closings Wipe $2 Billion From Atlantic City Property-Tax Values

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boa...

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boardwalk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The closure of three Atlantic City casinos by mid-September will wipe $2 billion from the city’s property-tax values next year, exacerbating the already cash-strapped city’s financial plight, Mayor Don Guardian warned Tuesday.

By 2017, Guardian said on a conference call to discuss Atlantic City’s way forward as a tourism center following the rout of its casino industry, property values are expected to have fallen to as little as $7.5 billion from $20 billion five years ago.

In the short term, Guardian said the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has made money “available for some bridge loans to make sure that the city continues functioning with this year’s budget because of any concern that we might have that a casino’s closing, going bankrupt might hold off payments.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140827_Casino_closings_wipe__2B_from_Atlantic_City_property-tax_values.html#9bAf73M2kyMlu0jB.99

Prayers For Atlantic City As Closings, Layoffs Loom

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY – Members of the clergy locked arms as they led a march of about 400 Unite Here Local 54 members in “a prayer vigil for Atlantic City’s service economy” on Wednesday night.

“This is union territory,” the casino workers chanted as they marched along New Jersey Avenue amid car horns honking in support. Many held signs, including Linda Bragg, 56, of Atlantic City, who works at Bally’s. Hers read: “Atlantic City – Broken Promises.”

“We don’t want to be a forgotten town,” she said. “I grew up with all these people. We made millions for the state. It’s really heart-wrenching. A mess.”

The march, on the eve of three planned casino closures, started between the Revel and Showboat casino hotels on the Boardwalk at 6:30 and ended more than an hour later at New Shiloh Baptist Church on Atlantic Avenue. Several pastors and bishops held a prayer service in support of the employees, many of whom are members of their churches.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140821_Prayers_for_Atlantic_City_as_closings__layoffs_loom.html#OST66wvzBszPrqpJ.99

National Tube Works Shuttered In McKeesport

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the last vestige of the old National Tube Works in McKeesport, 117 years of pipemaking came to a quiet end on Friday.

U.S. Steel‘s McKeesport Tubular Operations, an electric resistance weld plant producing standard line pipe, will be “idled indefinitely,” company officials said.

In small groups throughout the day, employees filed out, carrying literal pink slips marking the end of U.S. Steel’s operation there.

Several approached for comment waved off a reporter.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6624696-74/steel-tubular-mckeesport#ixzz3AZKI3p22
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Dick’s Cuts PGA Professionals As Golf Business Declines

Some wedges

Some wedges (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dick’s Sporting Goods has laid off hundreds of PGA professionals who provide golf instruction in its stores, underscoring the company’s concern about sagging sales of equipment and accessories as fewer Americans show interest in hitting the links.

The layoffs were not announced by the Findlay-based retailer but were confirmed by the PGA of America, which said Wednesday that 478 of its members were notified by the company that their services were no longer needed.

Dick’s, which operates more than 550 stores nationwide, did not immediately respond to email and phone messages. A PGA spokeswoman said it was disappointed in Dick’s decision and had reached out to the people affected.

“We are extremely disappointed by the news, as any time even one PGA member loses a job, we are extremely sensitive to such matters,” PGA spokeswoman Jamie Carbone said in an email on Wednesday.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6492600-74/pga-dick-golf#ixzz38P2SPLfo
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Hundreds Of Perkiomen Valley High School Students Protest Teacher Layoffs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLLEGEVILLE, PA — Hundreds of students streamed out of the front doors of the school in a quiet wave around 8:30 a.m. More than 550 Perkiomen Valley High School students participated in a walk out to protest proposed budget cuts which could mean several teachers would lose their jobs.

Alexa Monteleone spent the morning of her last day of high school on the baseball field taking a stand to try and save her mother’s job.

“It impacted me a lot. (My mom) has been here for so long and she has been so helpful to the school for the past 13 years,” she said about how she felt when she heard her mother could lose her job.

Monteleone’s mother, Maureen, is a para-professional and wears many hats, according to her daughter.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140509/hundreds-of-perkiomen-valley-high-school-students-protest-teacher-layoffs

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Pottstown School District’s Proposed Budget Cuts 11 Staff, Raises Taxes

The Pottstown School Board introduced the proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year at its Thursday night meeting, May 8, 2014.  For a brief synopsis of the meeting and more information, visit Brandt’s blog Digital Notebook at http://evan-brandt.blogspot.com/.  To see the Storify visit https://storify.com/PottstownNews/of-bushes-and-budgets?utm_source=embed&utm_medium=publisher&utm_campaign=embed-header

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Broke Shamokin, Pa., Seeks State Crutch That Few Cast Off

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberlan...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Reuters) – Shamokin, Pennsylvania, tucked away in the coal country about 120 miles northwest of Philadelphia, has $800,000 of unpaid bills and can’t get a loan from a bank. It’s so broke, the gas service to city hall was temporarily cut off last month.

So the council for the city of 7,000 residents has agreed to seek entry to a state financial oversight program dating from 1987 that facilitates access to credit and permits the levying of certain taxes. Now, though, some lawmakers say the program is more like a trap than a benefit: municipalities get into it, and few get out.

Just seven of the 27 local governments to enter state oversight under the program, known as Act 47, have ever been released from it. As a result, legislators want to cap how long cities can stay under state oversight and, in the hardest cases, impose a municipal death penalty that amounts to disincorporation and a state takeover. The law was passed in a bid to help Pennsylvania cities battered by the decline of the American steel industry in the 1970s and ’80s.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Broke_Shamokin_Pa_seeks_state_crutch_that_few_cast_off.html#CTx13mYx3Q210qd0.99

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NJ’s Largest Paper, Star-Ledger, Cuts 40 News Jobs

The Star-Ledger

The Star-Ledger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey’s largest newspaper is cutting about 170 jobs, including 25 percent of its newsroom positions, as it moves to consolidate operations and cut costs.

The Star-Ledger reported Thursday on NJ.com that the cuts will mean the loss of 40 of the 156 newsroom staffers at the paper.

Other journalists at the newspaper are being offered jobs at NJ Advance Media, a new company being created by parent company Advance Publications to provide content, advertising and marketing services to all of its papers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20140403_ap_bcb3f7ff38f04519b9d0130680554985.html#yfmrwV6huUd6q3Sx.99

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Layoffs At Aetna

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An undisclosed number of Aetna Inc. employees, including case managers, received layoff notices Wednesday at the health insurer’s Blue Bell office. One employee said that seven out of 18 supervisors lost their jobs, and each supervisor oversaw a staff of 15 to 20.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140227_Layoffs_at_Aetna.html#CJofKpH9CJpMxLSP.99

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Munhall Awaiting Decision On Loan Amid Fiscal Turmoil

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By today’s end, Munhall officials expect to know if private financing for a tax anticipation loan will be available to the borough, averting the need for layoffs of police and public works employees.

Council was forced in recent weeks to advertise for private financing after it could not get a regular bank loan because the borough did not have its annual audits for 2011 and 2012 performed by an independent auditor and filed with the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

That revelation is one of a number of surprises that council members say they’ve faced since Matt Galla abruptly resigned as borough manager June 17. The other surprises include the fact that appropriate pension contributions were not made to employee pension plans in 2011 and 2012, that many borough records, including employees’ salary histories, are gone from the borough offices, and that the borough lost $360,000 in regional asset district funds.

Since June, two interim managers and a certified public accountant have been trying to reconstruct the borough’s records. That reconstruction has shown that Mr. Galla may have paid himself more than his approved $60,000 salary.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/02/10/Munhall-awaiting-decision-on-loan-amid-fiscal-turmoil/stories/201402100093#ixzz2swAw1oXw

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Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club To Cut 2,300 Workers

English: Logo for Sam's Club

English: Logo for Sam’s Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK (AP) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it’s eliminating 2,300 workers at its Sam’s Club division as it reduces the ranks of middle managers in a bid to be more nimble.

The layoffs, which cut 2 percent of the membership club’s U.S. employee count of about 116,000, mark the largest since 2010 when the Sam’s Club unit laid off 10,000 workers as it moved to outsource food demonstrations at its stores.

The cuts come as Sam’s Club strives to compete better with Costco Wholesale Corp. and online players like Amazon.com’s Prime membership service. They also follow layoffs announced by several other major retailers in recent weeks that include Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney and Target Corp.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140125_ap_4fbfbde8c9e1487cbe6569dc8dc9139f.html#6AF86HobVkfOl5Cz.99

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J.C. Penney Closing 33 Stores – 2 In Philadelphia Suburbs

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village...

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls, Montana, taken March 4, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Struggling department-store operator J.C. Penney Co. announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores – including its stores in Exton and Burlington – as it tries to get back on the path to profitability.

The news raises concerns that Penney’s holiday season sales were not what the company hoped for and that the chain needs to do even more to recover from a turnaround plan that has had disastrous results.

J.C. Penney said earlier this month said it was pleased with its holiday results but declined to give sales figures, raising worries among Wall Street analysts about how the season actually fared.

Penney has 116,000 staffers and operates more than 1,100 stores.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140116_Penney_closing_33_stores_-_2_in_Phila__suburbs.html#uJtvJ5BOgUjA4UKO.99

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Macy’s To Cut 2,500 Jobs, Close Stores

Macy's logo

Macy’s logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Macy’s Inc. is cutting 2,500 jobs as part of a reorganization to sustain its profitability.

The announcement comes on the heels of a strong holiday shopping season for the department store chain.

Macy’s said Wednesday that it will reassign or transfer some workers and add some positions, leaving its workforce level at about 175,000.

The Cincinnati-based company plans to close five stores and open eight others, leaving it with 844 stores nationwide once the changes are complete.

Read more: http://www.inyork.com/community/ci_24868130/macys-cut-2-500-jobs?source=rss

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Early Allentown School Budget Focuses On Hefty Layoffs, Tax Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there was any doubt that the Allentown School District will impose layoffs as itgrapples with a $10.6 million shortfall next year, those doubts were all but erased tonight.

The school board considered a preliminary budget that could be described — officials hope — as a worst-case scenario: a $6.1 million cut to salaries, and a 9 percent property tax increase.

Those will almost certainly change by the time the final budget is passed in June. A preliminary budget is required this month by state law, and it must be balanced, so the district includes cuts to satisfy that deadline and then changes them later.

But if the $6.1 million salaries cut stays in place, with a district average salary of $65,000, it could mean at least 94 jobs getting eliminated, school union President Debra Tretter said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/01/early_allentown_school_budget.html#incart_m-rpt-1

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10 Years Later, Is Pittsburgh Really Climbing Out Of The Red?

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ten years and four months ago, then-Mayor Tom Murphy stood before a cadre of media to deliver grim news.

By the time he stepped up to speak, eyes moistened with tears, Pittsburgh city government had been sputtering along like an airplane held together by duct tape, according to a former finance director. But now the plane was about to take a nose dive — with the possibility of bankruptcy hovering.

“I hate doing this,” Mr. Murphy told the reporters.

He announced plans to lay off 731 city workers — including police officers — and leave hundreds more positions unfilled. All but six city pools would be drained and closed early — along with 19 recreation centers that were, in many places, critical gathering spots for sports and community events. Later that year, the city’s credit rating would be downgraded, making it the only major American city whose debt was rated “junk.” A fifth of the city’s budget went to pay off old debt.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2013/12/29/10-years-later-is-Pittsburgh-really-climbing-out-of-the-red/stories/201312290057#ixzz2or2K9BKS

Hazleton City Shutdown Looms Over Deficit

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLETON, PA — About 50 of the city’s 110 employees might be furloughed as early as Monday and the city is in danger of defaulting on its bills because of a $500,000 budget deficit.

At a press conference Monday, Mayor Joe Yannuzzi unveiled the latest in a string of the city’s financial woes that started last year when it had to raise the real estate tax by 45 percent. As it stands, non-essential employees — primarily office personnel and some public works employees — will not show up for work Monday and City Hall will be closed.

Firefighters and police will work regular shifts and road crews will still plow snow from the streets, Yannuzzi said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1010850/Hazleton-city-shutdown-looms-over-deficit

Merck Files Notice Of 500 Montco Layoffs

Location of Upper Gwynedd Township in Montgome...

Location of Upper Gwynedd Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The drugmaker Merck & Co. will lay off 500 people from its facility in West Point, Montgomery County, between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5.

Merck said on Oct. 1 that it would eliminate 8,500 jobs from its worldwide workforce beyond the 7,500 it had not yet cut from an earlier restructuring plan, but company officials were not specific about where and when.

Several big pharmaceutical companies with operations in the area are cutting jobs. Message boards devoted to Merck have been full of discussions about which units would lose people, but official public notice of the 500 job cuts at the West Point facility came because of a federal law called the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131102_Merck_files_notice_of_500_Montco_layoffs.html#S8XhpVChWKLAmKe5.99

U.S. Steel New CEO Expected To Slash More Costs

U.S. Steel

U.S. Steel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The $1.8 billion charge U.S. Steel announced Friday is the first of several moves that industry analysts expect new CEO Mario Longhi will make to revitalize a company that has not had a profitable year since 2008.

Mr. Longhi, who took over Sept. 1 for John P. Surma, has been given a mandate to drastically slash costs and increase efficiency. So far, the former Alcoa executive has been largely silent about how he intends to do that. But analysts expect Mr. Longhi to rip a page from the playbook that most new CEOs rely on by getting the bad news out of the way early in his tenure.

Among the measures analysts expect is shutting at least one of the company’s plants. They cite the glut of current capacity as well as new mills being built that are targeting one of U.S. Steel’s most profitable markets: tubular products used in the oil and gas industry.

“We remain in a structurally over-supplied market,” said analyst Gordon Johnson of Axiom Capital Management in New York City. “Supply is going to continue to grow at an unhealthy clip.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2013/10/22/U-S-Steel-new-CEO-expected-to-slash-more-costs/stories/201310220091

Merck To Cut Costs By $2.5 Billion, Eliminating 8,500 Jobs

Location of Upper Gwynedd Township in Montgome...

Location of Upper Gwynedd Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Merck & Co, taking a cue from other drugmakers that have slashed research spending to bolster earnings, on Tuesday said it plans to slash 8,500 jobs and cut annual operating costs by $2.5 billion by the end of 2015.

The job cuts announced Tuesday, representing more than 10 percent of the company’s global workforce of 81,000 employees, would be in addition to previously announced cuts of 7,500 positions.

Merck has 11,700 employees at seven sites in Pennsylvania, including those working in West Point and Upper Gwynedd in Montgomery County.  Spokeswoman Lainie Keller said the job cuts are companywide and could not say how many would affect the Pennsylvania sites.

By slimming down, Merck aims to narrow its focus to products with the best chance of winning regulatory approval and achieving substantial sales, while jettisoning research products with less likelihood of success.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-merck-cuts-jobs-20131001,0,511705.story#ixzz2gVN0aY3m
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Walgreens To Close Lehigh Valley Distribution Center, Lay Off 400

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walgreens will close its distribution center in Hanover Township, Northampton County, marking one of the largest layoffs in the Lehigh Valley in recent years.

The facility’s 400 employees will be laid off in phases, beginning in mid-January and concluding in March. Employees at the center, at 125 Commerce Way in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park IV, were informed of the decision Thursday.

“Our Lehigh Valley Distribution Center has served the company since 1991, making the decision to close it a difficult one,” Emily Hartwig of Walgreens corporate media relations said Friday.

Hartwig said the layoffs are part of the drugstore chain’s effort to maximize efficiencies at its distribution centers across the region.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-walgreens-to-close-bethlehem-distribution-cente-20130927,0,1515055.story#ixzz2gCXpUaeT
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