IRS REBATE REMINDER LETTERS COSTLY: At a cost of nearly $42 million, the Internal Revenue Service wants you to know: Your check is almost in the mail. The IRS is spending the money on letters to alert taxpayers to expect rebate checks as part of the economic stimulus plan. The notices are going out this month to an estimated 130 million households who filed returns for the 2006 tax year, at a cost of $41.8 million, IRS spokesman John Lipold confirmed. That works out to about 32 cents to print, process and mail each letter. It doesn't include the tab for another round of mailings planned for those who didn't file tax returns last year but still may qualify for a rebate. Democrats accused the Bush administration of wasting time and postage. Keith Hennessey, director of the president's National Economic Council, said the letters are being sent to explain how the tax rebates will work. The checks are scheduled to go out starting in May, after the IRS has completed mailing routine refunds for the 2007 tax year. The letters will be a reminder that people must file a 2007 tax return to receive the rebate if they are eligible for it.
PLASTIC SWIPED LIKE CRAZY IN JANUARY: Consumers increased their borrowing in January, especially relying on credit cards to finance their purchases. The Federal Reserve reported Friday that consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in January. That was up from a 1.8 percent growth rate in December and marked the fastest pace since November. The pickup in January pushed up total consumer debt by $6.9 billion to $2.52 trillion. That was on target with economists' expectations. The increase in borrowing was led by heavier use of revolving credit, primarily credit cards. Demand for revolving credit rose at a 7 percent pace in January.
TOYOTA TO EXTEND TRUCK FRAME WARRANTIES: Toyota says it will extend warranty coverage on 813,000 Toyota Tacoma truck frames because of problems with corrosion. Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday the warranty extension would involve coverage on corrosion that leads to holes in the frames of Tacomas for the model years 1995 to 2000. The warranty will be extended for a period of 15 years from the original sale without mileage limitation. Toyota said it received240 complaints about excessive corrosion, mostly from cold weather states that use road salt. For additional information, owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331.
APPLE MOTH MAYBE NOT SO DANGEROUS: A new study claims an invasive moth that spurred state plans to spray Bay Area cities with a chemical might not be such a voracious pest, after all. The California Department of Food and Agriculture said a light brown apple moth infestation is best contained by spraying a pheromone over San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and other communities in August. State officials said the Australian species threatens more than 2,000 varieties of plants and crops. But the new report said the moth probably can be kept in check by natural predators of similar moths already in the state.
LUXURY LOTS SET-ASIDE NO BIRD-BRAIN SCHEME: Bobby Ginn gave up the nicest lots in his luxury golf course community to a couple that just flew in and made themselves at home. Three years later, Ginn is happy with the deal. So, apparently, are the bald eagles nesting with a multimillion-dollar view: They recently had babies. Some developers would have seen an obstacle in the eagles, sitting in a dead pine tree overlooking a lake and surrounded by acres of nothing but nature. Ginn saw an opportunity not only to protect the environment in one of his latest multimillion-dollar ventures, but to make the eagles a selling point. Ginn set aside about 120 acres -- as much as $40 million worth of home sites -- in his Tesoro community in Port St. Lucie, about 115 miles north of Miami.
29: Percentage of U.S. workers who consider work-life balance and flexibility to be the most important factor in considering job offers, according to a Hudson Survey.
23: Percentage who said compensation when asked to name the primary reason they accepted their current positions.
62: Percentage of companies that have made policy changes to better accommodate working parents, according to a survey of senior executives developed by Office Team.
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