Business Briefs – November 5, 2017

Tax Bill Becomes Less-Generous Proposal

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans on Friday quietly made changes to their far-reaching tax overhaul: Now its tax cuts would be less generous for many Americans. A day after the GOP unveiled its plan promising middle-class relief, the House’s top tax-writer, Rep. Kevin Brady, released a revised version of the bill that would impose a new, lower-inflation “chained CPI” adjustment for tax brackets immediately instead of in 2023. That means more income would be taxed at higher rates over time — and less generous tax cuts for individuals and families.

Pay Raises Are Elusive Even With Unemployment So Low

WASHINGTON (AP) — With unemployment at a 17-year low and businesses complaining that they can’t fill jobs, you might expect pay to be rising sharply to attract and retain workers. It’s not. The October jobs report showed that pay gains remain sluggish, and the explanations include weak worker productivity and a still-low proportion of adults with jobs. These are long-running trends that still bedevil the economy despite its steady improvement.

Trump Seeks End to Health Care Penalty in House GOP Tax Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is pressuring Republicans to repeal a health care law penalty in their tax rewrite. It’s a step the House’s top tax writer indicates is politically problematic. Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, says the president had spoken to him twice by phone and once in person, imploring him to scrap the so-called individual mandate that requires Americans to obtain health insurance or face a penalty.

EPA Chief Set to Meet Privately With Chemical Industry Execs

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration’s top environmental regulator is set to speak privately to chemical industry executives next week during a conference at a luxury oceanfront golf resort. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is listed as the featured speaker at a board meeting of the American Chemistry Council, which has lobbied against stricter regulations for chemical manufacturers.

Sears to Close Another 63 Stores

NEW YORK (AP) – Sears Holdings Corp. says it will be closing another 63 stores as the ailing retailer tries to turn around its business. The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company, struggling to keep up with its rivals, said it will shutter 45 Kmart stores and 18 Sears stores in late January.