Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Art Institute of Chicago sells bonds to shore up employee pensions ]]>

The Art Institute of Chicago is selling $101 million in bonds to shore up its employee pensions. Moody’s Investors Service is giving the bonds an A1 rating, its fifth highest grade, with a stable outlook. The ratings service said the museum enjoys a “sold market position” because of its international renown and a commitment to paying down its debt. The Art Institute is expected to retire $94 million in debt over the next three years and plans no additional bond issuances, Moody’s said. Potential trouble, the Moody’s report said, include relatively high indebtedness of about $295.2 million with the new … ]]> Sun, 11 Nov 2012 06:29:08 -0600 <![CDATA[ Closing bank account will cost you, Consumers Union survey finds ]]>

Want to close your bank account? It could cost you as much as $55. In a survey of the practices of the 10 largest banks in the country — including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo — Consumers Union found that people who want to close their accounts at big banks and switch to a smaller bank can face costly obstacles. ]]> Thu, 31 May 2012 13:26:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ Looks like gas price surge is over for 2012 ]]>

This year’s surge in gasoline prices appears over. Prices have held at a national average of $3.92 a gallon the past week, below July 2008’s record $4.11. Gas prices in Chicago and Los Angeles — already have dropped 12 to 20 cents a gallon. ]]> Wed, 11 Apr 2012 10:50:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Income-tax refunds taking their sweet time ]]>

Taxpayers are continuing to wait longer than usual to receive their federal income-tax refunds from the IRS. ]]> Sun, 25 Mar 2012 08:12:29 -0600 <![CDATA[ Earliest tax-filers face a 1-week delay in getting refunds from IRS ]]>

Some taxpayers who filed their federal income-tax returns early this year will have to wait a week longer than initially projected to get their refunds. The problem affects taxpayers whose returns were filed before Jan. 26. Taxpayers whose returns were accepted on or after that date won’t be affected, the IRS says. ]]> Fri, 02 Mar 2012 08:12:23 -0600 <![CDATA[ Beef prices, already near record highs, going up again this year ]]> Lead story image

Beef prices, already at near-record-high prices, are expected to be driven up for the second year in a row this year because of a limited supply of cattle. There were about 91 million head of cattle in the United States as of Jan. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s down 2 percent from a year ago — and the lowest level since 1952. ]]> Thu, 01 Mar 2012 08:44:04 -0600 <![CDATA[, Indiana reach online sales-tax deal ]]> will begin collecting Indiana’s 7 percent sales tax from customers in 2014. ]]> Sat, 11 Feb 2012 08:15:55 -0600 <![CDATA[ Say good-bye to the $1 coin ]]> Lead story image

Say good-bye to the $1 coin. People have rejected them, so the Treasury Department will stop mass-producing them. “Nobody wants them,” says Vice President Joe Biden. The U.S. Mint will make a limited number of presidential dollars available only to collectors willing to pay several times face value — beginning with one featuring Chester A. Arthur next spring. ]]> Wed, 14 Dec 2011 14:09:40 -0600 <![CDATA[ Fresh-cut Xmas trees — via the Net ]]> Lead story image

The family trek to the Christmas tree farm has a competitor getting special buzz this season: the Internet. Some retailers’ websites, including Target, Costco and, as of this week, Sears and Kmart, are hawking freshly cut trees delivered door to door anywhere in the continental United States. Online sales of cut trees are still a fraction of the 27 million-plus Christmas trees expected to be purchased this year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. About 33 percent of people still trek to the choose-and-cut farms, the group says. But online tree sales — which at Sears costs as much … ]]> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 08:05:28 -0600 <![CDATA[ Stamp will cost a penny more — 45 cents ]]>

It’ll cost a penny more — a 45-cent stamp — to mail a letter starting Jan. 22, and mailing a postcard will go up three cents, to 32 cents. Letters to Mexico and Canada will increase a nickel, to 85 cents. ]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 20:59:33 -0600 <![CDATA[ Consumers could see lower food, gas prices ]]>

Consumers may catch a break on the price of gasoline and baked goods and sweets as the Thanksgiving-Christmas season approaches, thanks to a sudden tumble in worldwide commodity markets. The consumer price outlook has brightened, in part, because commodity speculators have fled the energy and grain markets in the face of fears of a global recession triggered by the European debt crisis, says Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. What’s happening: Crude oil has fallen from more than $100 a barrel just before Memorial Day to less than $76 Tuesday. Flour prices have risen more than 50 percent this year. … ]]> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 09:29:21 -0600 <![CDATA[ 1 in 7 drivers not insured ]]>

Despite laws in nearly every state requiring auto insurance, one in seven drivers nationwide goes uncovered. That’s according to an industry group that estimates 13.8 percent of drivers are uninsured, a number that’s climbed during the economic downturn as many financially pressed Americans let their insurance lapse. “Over the last 20 years, uninsured motorists and the unemployment rate have tracked fairly closely,” says David Corum, vice president of the Insurance Research Council, a non-profit supported by insurers. In Illinois, as of 2009 14.9 percent of all drivers were uninsured, down from 16.6 percent in 2005. Gannett News Service … ]]> Wed, 09 May 2012 09:47:56 -0600 <![CDATA[ Savings bonds going paperless after Dec. 31 ]]>

For the first time in 76 years, paper U.S. Savings Bonds will no longer be sold at banks and credit unions, the Treasury Department reports. ]]> Mon, 18 Jul 2011 02:07:19 -0600 <![CDATA[ Hatchbacks are making a comeback ]]> Lead story image

Hatchbacks are coming back as drivers look for roomy, fuel-efficient alternatives to big cars and crossover vehicles. ]]> Sun, 16 Oct 2011 00:18:25 -0600 <![CDATA[ Tires for pickups, SUVs become harder to find ]]> Lead story image

As if high gas prices weren’t enough, now drivers are facing shortages of some tires, especially for sport-utility vehicles and pickups.After a number of plant closings and the reduction of inventories during the recession, some tire makers have been caught short as demand picked up for new cars and drivers who’d delayed spending headed in to replace balding tires. There are “definitely problems” in supplying tire dealers with all the stock they need, said Dan Zielinski, spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the tiremakers’ trade group. “Each tiremaker is being challenged,” says John Rastetter, of the Tire Rack, a big … ]]> Wed, 06 Jul 2011 02:08:50 -0600