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Buffalo expected to pass law to make clean-energy financing program available – The Buffalo News

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Low-cost loans for clean-energy projects may soon be available for companies and other entities that own commercial buildings in Buffalo.

The state’s new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program provides private capital to commercial and nonprofit building owners so they can make renewable energy and energy-efficient upgrades to their buildings.

First, municipalities must pass a local law and sign an Energy Improvement Corporation municipal agreement for EIC to act on the city’s behalf. EIC – a nonprofit, statewide local development corporation that administers the new financing program, bills the property owners and directs them to remit the funds to the capital provider, removing any collection obligation from the municipality. EIC also provides a list of preapproved lenders and reviews and approves each financing to make sure it is aligned with the program’s guidelines.

The Common Council’s legislative committee last Tuesday recommended enacting the local law. The full Council likely will adopt the legislation during its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Once the council passes the law, qualified commercial property owners will be able to access the specialized financing, said Delaware Council Member Joel P. Feroleto, who introduced the legislation in the Council.

“Smart policies like PACE financing can unlock Buffalo’s green energy potential, while also creating well-paying jobs,” Feroleto said. “By making energy conservation more attractive and financially attainable for commercial property owners, we are further positioning Buffalo to be a renewable energy leader.”

Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects will help reduce Buffalo’s overall carbon footprint, said Mayor Byron W. Brown. And commercial property owners, who take on more energy-efficient projects may significantly reduce their buildings’ energy costs at a faster rate than they may have anticipated.

“The city is taking aggressive action to combat the consequences of global climate change,” Brown said. “That is why my administration is committed to working with the state and Common Council to promote programs that provide commercial property owners affordable financing for renewable energy projects.”

Qualifying commercial properties cannot be owned by an individual or single proprietor and cannot be government-owned property. Eligible property owners may be corporations (both for-profit and not-for-profit), limited liability companies, partnerships and real estate investment trusts.

In addition, the property owner must be current in mortgage payments and property taxes on the property.

For more details on qualification, go to energizeny.org/commercial/cpace-program-documents.





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Powerball jackpot is at $373 million. Tips for claiming if you win

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If you happen to hit the next Powerball jackpot, brace yourself for the life-changing decisions ahead of you.

With no one matching all six numbers drawn on Wednesday, the top prize has jumped to $373 million for Saturday night’s drawing. And while winning such a huge amount could open a world of possibility, formulating a detailed plan for when and how to claim it would be a key part of protecting your windfall, experts say.

“It’s exciting to win but, when it gets to numbers this big, you have to take a step back and realize the magnitude of it and plan for it,” said David Desmarais, CPA member of the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The jackpot has been climbing for more than two months through twice-weekly drawings. Whoever ends up winning will face options before even heading to lottery headquarters — some of which depend on where the ticket was purchased.

For example, you may be able to shield your identity, which experts say is important if it’s possible.

While just a handful of states allow you to claim anonymously, others may let you collect your windfall via a trust or other legal entity to keep your name out of the public eye. In other states, though, you might have no choice but to publicly reveal yourself.

You also have some leeway on the timing of the claim. You typically get three months to one year, depending on where the ticket was purchased. Generally speaking, the sooner you claim, the better — with a caveat.

“You’d want to get the money as soon as possible so you could put it to work for you,” said certified financial planner Jennifer Weber, vice president of financial planning at Weber Asset Management in Lake Success, New York.

“But the more important thing is to get a team of advisors behind you before you claim,” Weber said.

That team should consist of experienced professionals — including an attorney, CPA and financial advisor.

One of the major decisions that your team can help you with is whether to take the prize as a reduced cash option or as an annuity paid in annual installments over 30 years.

First up is taking an honest look inward and making sure you have the discipline to take the cash option and handle it responsibly, said Howard Pressman, a CFP and partner at Egan, Berger & Weiner in Vienna, Virginia.

“If the answer is no, then the annuity may make the most sense, as the payments would be spread out and limit the winner’s ability to blow it all,” Pressman said. “This may be more important than making the highest-yielding economic decision.”

The annuity option is structured in a way that annual payments increase over time (by 5% annually). For this $373 million Powerball jackpot, the first year’s payout would be roughly $5.62 million, based on a formula provided by the Multi-State Lottery Association. The 30th (and final) payment would be more than $23 million.

More from Personal Finance:
Here are the smartest things to do with that bonus check
Where most Americans really get their retirement income
How to find a great career in your golden years

On the other hand, if you take the lump sum, you potentially could earn more over time than with the annuity, depending on how you invested it.

“If you can earn 3% [after taxes], you’d be slightly better off than taking the annuity,” Desmarais said.

For this Powerball jackpot, the cash option is $253.7 million. That amount would be reduced by a federal 24% withholding, or about $60.9 million, leaving you with $192.8 million.

However, because the top marginal rate of 37% applies to income above $518,400 for single tax filers ($622,050 for married couples filing jointly), much more would be due at tax time — which would be April 2021 for prizes claimed in 2020.

State taxes also may be withheld or due. Those levies range from zero to more than 8%, depending on where the winning ticket was purchased and where the winner lives. In other words, you could end up paying more than 45% in taxes.

There are ways to reduce your taxable income, although not many. For the charitably inclined, contributing to a donor-advised fund or a family foundation could help reduce your taxable income.

However, any decisions should be made in the context of a full plan that ideally is done with the help of experienced experts to avoid making mistakes in the claiming process.

“The most important thing is to surround yourself with the proper advisers,” Desmarais said. “There’s still plenty of time in the calendar year to do tax planning.”

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U.S. Signals Crackdown on Counterfeit Goods Sold Online

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WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is moving to curb the sale of imported counterfeit goods over the internet, warning electronic commerce platforms and warehouse operators of greater scrutiny and penalties if they don’t help ferret out fakes.

The Department of Homeland Security is set to release a report Friday outlining its immediate actions and longer-term goals for enlisting e-commerce players to combat counterfeit products that officials say undermine U.S. technology and manufacturing, harm bricks-and-mortar retailers and endanger consumers.

The new initiative, led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the White House, comes the same month as an initial trade agreement with China that requires Beijing to take steps against counterfeiters or risk enforcement actions that could trigger new tariffs.

The Trump administration is seeking to pressure e-commerce giants including

Amazon.com Inc.,

which increasingly hosts lucrative third-party sales on its platform, as well as financial firms, logistics services and other companies that are positioned to help stem the rising tide of counterfeits and pirated goods.

The DHS report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, says law enforcement will begin identifying cases immediately and “seek all available statutory authorities to pursue civil fines and other penalties against these entities.”

It also calls for new laws “to explicitly permit the government to seek injunctive relief against third-party marketplaces and other intermediaries dealing in counterfeit merchandise.”

“This is not about any one e-commerce platform—this is about e-commerce playing by a different set of rules that simultaneously hammer brick-and-mortar retailers, defraud consumers, punish workers and rip off intellectual-property rights holders,” said White House trade adviser

Peter Navarro,

who is helping lead the initiative. “It’s Amazon, Shopify, Alibaba, eBay, JD.com, Walmart.com and a constellation of lesser players that provide the digital hubs.”

Spokespeople for Amazon,

eBay Inc.,

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.,

Walmart Inc.,

Shopify Inc.

and

JD.com Inc.

didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Amazon’s pursuit of boundless selection has led it to become a massive marketplace with millions of sellers. But has this business strategy put customers at risk? WSJ investigates how unsafe products, including children’s products and toys, have become available for purchase. Photo: John P. Campbell for The Wall Street Journal

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

What role, if any, should the federal government play in limiting the sale of counterfeit goods online? Join the conversation below.

As part of the enforcement effort, the report says customs agents will treat domestic U.S. warehouses and fulfillment centers, such as those operated by Amazon and others, as the “ultimate consignee” for goods that haven’t been sold to consumers, giving officials power to scrutinize shipments even after they have cleared the border and moved to a regional warehouse.

U.S. officials will share information with such warehouses about counterfeit goods and “request they pursue abandonment and destruction with the rights holders of any identical offending goods in their possession,” according to the report.

Authorities also seek to better scrutinize fulfillment centers in Mexico and Canada that they say have long skirted U.S. trade law. They say large shipments sent to these facilities are often broken up into individual packages and shipped to U.S. consumers—free of duties and formal customs paperwork as long as the shipped item is valued less than $800.

Customers and Border Protection “has existing authority to require formal entry (and the complete data set for any shipment) for any merchandise, if deemed necessary for import admissibility enforcement purposes; revenue protection; or even the efficient conduct of customs business,” the report says.

E-Commerce Counterfeiting

Many online sellers of consumer goods have little incentive to comb through their transactions or shipments for counterfeits, contributing to a rising tide of fake or unsafe items. Related reading:

The U.S. and other governments say the fake-goods problem is growing as consumers gravitate toward low prices on the internet and cheap international shipping. In three “blitzes” last summer at international mail facilities, express-delivery hubs and other locations, customs agents found violations in nearly 14% of the 20,861 shipments that were inspected, including roughly 5% of shipments that contained counterfeit goods, according to the report.

“An acceptable rate of customs discrepancies for counterfeit products and other contraband, such as fentanyl or gun silencers coming in from countries like China, would be under 1%,” Mr. Navarro said.

The size of the problem—and any likely solution—is growing. The incidence of infringing goods at U.S. borders has increased from 3,244 seizures in 2000 to 33,810 in 2018, according to DHS data.

Previous administrations and local law enforcement have long sought to work with the owners of legitimate patents, copyrights and trademarks to stamp out imitators, including through trade agreements. Trump administration officials are seeking to extend that approach, although it isn’t clear whether they could secure more manpower or funding. Acting DHS Secretary

Chad F. Wolf

said in a statement that the private sector is “critical to helping secure supply chains to stem the tide of counterfeit and pirated goods.”

Companies that profit from myriad small shipments have little financial incentive to comb carefully through their transactions or shipments. Online marketplaces don’t face the same legal liability as physical stores, and major changes to the legal landscape would require new legislation from Congress, officials say.

E-commerce operators say they have safeguards in place to curb inauthentic goods. “The industry will continue to work with law enforcement, policy makers and industry to protect consumers from counterfeit goods,” said

Jordan Haas,

trade policy director at the Internet Association, whose members include Amazon, eBay and

Etsy Inc.

The bigger e-commerce platforms say they are already working internally and cooperating with governments to address counterfeiting. Alibaba said in a news posting Wednesday that “ever-improving technologies and close partnerships with brands and other external stakeholders” have helped it to identify and remove counterfeit goods from its platforms.

Amazon said last month that “combating counterfeit requires collaboration across the industry—from retailers, brands, law enforcement, and government and we continue to be actively engaged with these stakeholders.”

Some Amazon third-party sellers sell second-hand products as new on the site—some even claim to sell products they found while digging through garbage dumpsters. The Wall Street Journal set out to test their claims by setting up an Amazon storefront and gathering some trash. Photo: Robert Alcaraz/The Wall Street Journal

The Journal reported last year that Amazon allowed third-party sellers to market dangerous products on its platform with limited oversight.

The Trump administration is considering adding some of Amazon’s overseas operations to a list of global marketplaces known for counterfeit goods, in what would amount to a public shaming of the e-commerce giant, according to people familiar with the matter.

One new tool is the initial trade pact signed this month by U.S. and Chinese officials. The agreement requires Beijing to boost the number of trained personnel to seize pirated goods aimed at exports markets, with requirements to destroy fake goods and to cooperate with the U.S. on counterfeit medicines.

“Over the next six months, we expect to see a quick and dramatic reduction in the rates of counterfeits and other contraband,” Mr. Navarro said, adding that “absent such a reduction, the deal will be enforced accordingly.”

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Write to William Mauldin at william.mauldin@wsj.com and Alex Leary at alex.leary@wsj.com

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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RS.100 में खरीदो 1200 में बेचो.business ideas in Hindi, small business ideas, earn money online.

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