Business Briefs – February 12, 2018

Trump Threatens ‘Tax’ on Countries That Exploit U.S. Trade

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says he’s planning to announce a “reciprocal tax” on countries that take advantage of the United States on trade, with more details to be released later this week. Mr. Trump is noting his plans for the so-called tax in a meeting with state and local leaders. He says they’ll be hearing about it during the week and the coming months. Mr. Trump is also addressing the ongoing negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement and says he’s hopeful it will be successful. The president is complaining that Canada doesn’t treat the U.S. well. He also complained about Mexico’s treatment of the U.S.

General Dynamics to Buy CSRA For Almost $7 Billion

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) – The defense contractor General Dynamics will spend almost $7 billion to acquire CSRA with the Trump administration pushing defense spending aggressively higher. Shares of CSRA Inc., an internet technology company, soared over 30 percent in Monday’s trading. As part of a $4.4 trillion budget for next year unveiled Monday, President Donald Trump requested a record $686 billion for the Pentagon, a 13 percent increase from the 2017 budget enacted last May. “We’re going to have the strongest military we’ve ever had, by far,” Trump said. “In this budget we took care of the military like it’s never been taken care of before.”

Senate Panel Votes to Freeze Minimum Wage Hikes

PHOENIX (AP) – An Arizona Senate committee on Monday approved a proposal that would ask voters to roll back a minimum wage initiative that passed by a wide margin in 2016.

The proposal from more than a dozen Republican lawmakers freezes the minimum wage at the current $10.50 an hour and repeals mandatory sick time included in the 2016 voter-approved law. It passed on a 5-3 party-line vote.

Business owners testified that the wage and sick time hikes in Proposition 206 have made it harder to find workers and forced them to cut employment. Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen, the main author of the measure, said it won’t hurt to ask voters to review the measure now that its effects are more clear. She also said she was fundamentally opposed to the minimum wage boost.

“You cannot pull individuals up by taking from one to give to another,” she said.