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BUSINESS
By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | February 3, 2005
WASHINGTON - To almost no one's surprise, the Federal Reserve Bank nudged interest rates up another quarter-point to 2.5 percent yesterday. What instead set Wall Street chattering is the environment in which policy-makers made their decision: less-than-robust hiring and relatively low inflation. "If they were listening to me, they would not be raising interest rates today," economist Ray Perryman said. "The economy is not at the level we would call robust yet. The danger is every time you raise interest rates, you make investment look unprofitable."
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NEWS
By Erika Hobbs and Erika Hobbs,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 31, 2004
This Christmas season was sweeter for Tanika Thompson and Lynn Neubauer, two Maryland women who thought they wouldn't live long enough to celebrate it. Both received a diagnosis of liver cancer - Thompson in late 2003 and Neubauer last January - a lethal disease that had spread from other organs in their bodies. Both marked their lives in days and months, not years. But a new procedure at the University of Maryland Medical Center that sends microscopic beads of radiation directly to tumors gave them both new leases on life.
NEWS
By Fred Schulte and M. William Salganik and Fred Schulte and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | November 14, 2004
As state legislators gear up for a possible special session to tackle the medical malpractice insurance crisis, debate over the cause has tended to focus on greedy trial lawyers or incompetent doctors. In the middle stands Maryland's top insurer of physicians, the Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland. Its rate increases for more than 6,000 doctors have left some saying they will be forced to shut their offices or curtail risky services such as delivering babies. Med Mutual is suffering from a surge in malpractice payouts last year -- including 20 cases it paid $1 million or more to close.
NEWS
By William Neikirk and William Neikirk,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | August 11, 2004
WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve stood its ground yesterday and raised interest rates modestly for the second time this summer, despite signs of a weaker job market and slower economic growth. The central bank coupled its interest-rate increase with a sunny outlook, saying the economy is poised to shake off its sluggishness and resume "a stronger pace of expansion going forward," reassuring words that helped boost the stock market. Wall Street responded with enthusiasm. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 130.01 points to close at 9,944.
NEWS
By Doug Donovan and Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF | August 5, 2004
An audit released yesterday revealed that the city government lost out on potentially millions in revenue by failing to increase rates charged to electric, telephone and fiber-optic companies that lease underground public space for wires and cables. Baltimore's auditor, Yovonda Brooks, told the city's spending board yesterday that $3.5 million was squandered over the past three years because rates were not increased from $0.58 to $1.16 per foot of underground space used by companies. The report estimated that the city could miss out on an additional $9 million over the next five years.
BUSINESS
By CBS MARKETWATCH | June 3, 2004
WASHINGTON - Looking at the past is no guide to predicting how quickly and aggressively the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan told Maryland's senior senator. In a letter released yesterday, Greenspan repeated his earlier comment that the current low rates "must be returned to a more neutral setting at some point." The timing and intensity of the Federal Open Market Committee's coming rate increases are highly uncertain. Financial markets are pricing in a quarter-point increase in the federal funds rate by the end of June and at least a full percentage point increase by the end of the year.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF | April 22, 2004
Howard County's two Republican councilmen have proposed an amendment to the county charter that would require at least four of the five council members to pass an increase in income or property tax rates. "A tax increase should be a convincing enough argument to get four or five [council members] to agree to it," said Christopher J. Merdon, who represents Ellicott City and Elkridge. "If you can't, you haven't stated your case clearly enough." Merdon and western Howard Councilman Allan H. Kittleman said they were prompted by the 30 percent income tax rate increase supported by the three Democratic members of the council last year -- one of four tax-rate increases in five years.
BUSINESS
By Anne Lauren Henslee and Anne Lauren Henslee,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 29, 2004
Consumers might want to think twice before filing a claim on their home insurance policies, warns the Maryland Insurance Administration, because it could lead to higher premiums or even lost coverage. A local lawmaker and some consumers are unhappy about that. They say they buy insurance to cover their property when something goes wrong and want insurance carriers to be forced to notify customers if they're in danger of losing their coverage. Maryland law - like many around the country - generally prevents an insurance company from canceling or not renewing a policy if fewer than three weather-related claims are filed in a three-year period.
NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF | December 23, 2003
Montgomery County voters have petitioned a proposal for a tougher property tax limit on next year's election ballot, election officials confirmed yesterday, setting off the fourth such effort there in the past decade. "The [Montgomery] population is increasing slowly, but the county budget is up 50 percent in six years," said Robin Ficker, a Republican whose property tax limit petitions were certified Thursday by the Montgomery County election board. Ficker's amendment would remove the Montgomery council's ability to override a 1990 inflation-linked limit on property tax increases.
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